County lines crackdown: Gang that shipped £250,000 of drugs into tourist towns is jailed

A county lines gang that trafficked around GBP250,000 worth of drugs has been taken down in a joint police operation. The gang shipped drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin from Coventry on to the streets of UK tourist towns. Operating from January 2019 to July last year, the criminal group is believed to have supplied at least 2.5kg of crack cocaine and heroin into Stratford-upon-Avon and Royal Leamington Spa.

Officers discovered the group were running a hotline to market their products, with messages found saying “come and get ur tackle, still in stock. Best of both” and “active around the clock. Best in town”.

During the investigation, police recovered more than 1,000 wraps of heroin and crack cocaine, along with nearly GBP10,000 in cash. The operation, carried out by West Midlands Police’s Regional Organised Crime Unit and Warwickshire Police, resulted in nine arrests. Levi Pollard-Mersom, 29, from Coventry, ran the line, which used the brand names Kano and CJ and exploited addicts to run the drugs and carry out street deals.

He also “cuckooed” homes of vulnerable people to use a supply base and made up to GBP1,500 a day. Police said he “controlled the others through violence, threats and reputation” and “made most of the money but exposed himself to very little risk”. Another man, 31-year-old Jordan Hill, was a senior member of the gang who managed the deliveries and took orders on the county line.

Other members included Pollard-Mersom’s brother, 20-year-old Paul Walker, who helped store drugs in Coventry, and Lewis Kerr, 29, who acted as transport and muscle for the group. Kerr was also looking for a way the gang could expand the line into Rugby. A number of drug runners were also caught, including 18-year-old Hasum Makalo, who was the youngest.

Others were 19-year-old Gary Brown, Nell Desnousse, aged 22, Kieron Hill, aged 23, and 39-year-old Amy Lamb. Detective Inspector Julie Woods said the runners “faced the very real danger of being attacked with weapons by rival gangs or being arrested on the street”.
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Pollard-Mersom, Kieran, Hill, Lamb, Desnousse and Makalo all admitted conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, while Walker and Kerr were both found guilty following a trial. Brown is already serving a six-year sentence in prison for drugs supply and the other eight are due to be sentenced at a later date. DI Woods said: “The men in charge of this operation have shown themselves as callous individuals driven by greed and were happy to make money on others’ suffering.”

People who suspect someone is being exploited to run drugs are urged to contact police.