'Paranoid Pete' drug deal phone line boss supplied £125,000 of heroin and cocaine on Leeds streets

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The leader of a Leeds gang which flooded the city's drug market with heroin and cocaine has been locked up for six years.

Erroll Powell was in charge of the 'Paranoid Pete' line which was responsible for more than 5,000 drug deals over a six month period.

Erroll Powell was in charge of the 'Paranoid Pete' drug line which was behind 5,000 deals of heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Leeds.

Erroll Powell was in charge of the 'Paranoid Pete' drug line which was behind 5,000 deals of heroin and crack cocaine on the streets of Leeds.

A court heard how gang members were caught when police launched an undercover operation to smash the drug ring in a bid to stamp out "misery and despair" caused by class A drugs.

Leeds Crown Court heard West Yorkshire Police launched Operation Gloveview in which undercover officers targeted street dealers in the Harehills and Chapeltown areas of the city.

Dave Mackay, prosecuting, said: "The supply and use of such drugs have had a major impact on these areas.

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"Crimes such a murder, kidnap, burglaries, robberies, firearms offences, are all linked to this trade either by those who need to fund their addiction or by those who would seek to protect what is a very lucrative trade."

Powell and those connected with the 'Paranoid Pete' line supplied undercover officers on 21 occasions between October 2016 and March 2017.

Calls would be made to a phone line and the holder of the phone would then attend to supply drugs.

Those involved in the operation would either attend in their own cars or use one of many vehicles hired for the purpose of supplying drugs.

Mr Mackay said: "The defendants were very careful about their work and took great steps to avoid detection such to the extent that the dealer line was known as 'Paranoid Pete'.

"If users didn't use the correct code words then the dealers would hang up."

It is estimated that during the period of the conspiracy more than 2kg of heroin and crack cocaine was sold.

Powell was stopped and searched by police on Sholebroke Avenue, Chapeltown, on March 22, 2017, and found in possession 20 wraps of heroin and 19 wraps of cocaine.

Powell, 48, of Buller Grove, Harehills, pleaded guilty to two offences of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

He is the final member of the gang to be sentenced.

In October 2017, ten men were jailed for a total of 40 years over their involvement in the drug line.

Among those jailed were Shawn Campbell and Darren Duncan, who also played leading roles in the illegal operation.

Glenn Parsons, mitigating, said Powell had become involved in drug dealing as he needed money to buy a van to set himself up in business as a delivery driver.

He said: "He got involved in this through a mixture of foolishness and greed.

"He knows what he did was wrong."

Mr Parsons said Powell had a wife, children and a grandchild who would all suffer while in custody.

Jailing Powell, judge Robin Mairs said: "It was a professional and commercial supply operation."