A GANG of drug dealers who spread misery on a Leeds estate have been jailed and banned from the area in landmark legal action brought by police and council chiefs.
Ten members of the gang were rounded up after spy cameras were set up to catch them selling cannabis in broad daylight in Seacroft.
Leeds Crown Court heard how the gang created a nightmare for residents who were too afraid to report what was happening through fear of revenge attacks.
Officers launched Operation Boypark to catch key members of the group who come from long established families in the Seacroft area and benefitted from an entrenched ‘not a grass’ culture in the area.
Injuctions have already been secured under the Housing Act to remove them from the area where they blighted so many lives.
Kama Melly, prosecuting, told the court an operation was launched in the summer of 2013 in response to a sharp rise of complaints of people congregating in the street and selling drugs.
Sales were done blatantly in the presence of others.
There were also incidents of violence against members of the public and police. The estate was also plagued with gang members driving dangerously around the estate in cars and quad bikes as they dealt drugs.
Up to 40 people at a time would gather in the street as drug deals were made.
The gang operated a drug order line which took around 2,500 calls over a 46 day period during which it was monitored.
Over a 22 day period in July 2013, 328 separate instances of drug dealing were filmed.
Kama Melly, prosecuting, said: “Part of the Crown’s case is that not only is this case about the impact on the community of fueling drugs but the manner of it - having large groups of adult males congregating in the same area.
“Sales were done blatantly in the presence of others.
“Essentially this is presence on the streets of residential family areas where vulnerable residents have been intimidated.
“The blatant criminality which is witnessed there in broad daylight has engendered a different atmosphere within the community whereby criminality has become normal.”
The group were shown to be involved in a criminal conspiracy to supply drugs across north-east Leeds from their “stronghold” in south Seacroft where they were responsible for serious anti-social behaviour which went unchallenged due to a culture of fear among residents.
Members of the group had been known to the police over the years for their involvement in burglary and car crime.
Those sentenced today after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply controlled drugs were:
Kieran Marshall, 24, of Tarnside Drive, Seacroft. jailed for three years and two months.
Gareth Pollard, 21, of Boggart Hill Drive, Seacroft, sent to a young offenders institution for 14 months.
Michael Pollard, 28, of Lombard Street, Halton Moor, jailed for two years.
John Paul Varley, 24, of Brander Road, Gipton, jailed for two years, six months.
Darren Kaye, 27, of Borrowdale Terrace, Seacroft, jailed for three years, two months.
Steven Kaye, 25, of Dufton Approach, Seacroft, jailed for three years, two months.
Timothy Hall, 19, of Amberton Grove, Gipton, sent to a young offenders institution for 12 months.
A 17-year-old, who cannot be named, was made the subject of a 12-month community order.
Two other men - John Kitchen, 24, of Tarnside Drive, Seacroft, and Mark Devall-Hall, 26, of Inglewood Drive, Seacroft, - are due to be sentenced next month.
In November last year, the evidence from the operation was used at Leeds county Court by Leeds City Council lawyers to successfully apply for injunctions against ten of those involved.
This effectively banned them from the area of their offending, which is bordered by York Road, Foundry Lane, South Parkway and Fearnville sports field, other than to visit specific relatives or medical appointments.
It also banned them from possessing controlled drugs or behaving anti-socially in the area.
Chief Insp Matt Davison, who heads neighbourhood policing in north-east Leeds, said: “This group were the most disruptive and problematic element in the area.
“They had a complete disregard for the impact their behaviour had on others and were convinced that the ‘not a grass’ culture would protect them from authorities.
“These were negative role models of the worst kind who were already creating ‘apprentices’ from younger people in the area and if left unchallenged would have continued to have a really damaging effect on the community.