Violent Northampton drugs gang used kids as lookouts and left locals left too scared to join 'clap for carers'

Four men jailed for combined 20 years after police operation uncovers supply business in St David's

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 12:20 pm

Four men involved in a notorious Northampton drugs gang which left locals living in fear have been jailed for more than 20 years.

The quartet — one 51-year-old and three in their early-20s — operated out of a flat in St David's using vulnerable local children as lookouts and runners while supplying coacine, heroin and cannabis.

Officers from the police Northampton Neighbourhood Team busted the gang during a series of raids and a high-speed chase in 2020 after identifying them using high levels of violence to run their business, carrying weapons and committing criminal damage and arsons.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Hobbs, Stewart, Smalley and Richardson were jailed last month after police raids in Drayton Walk uncovered a drugs gang

Residents on the estate were intimidated to such an extent they were too scared to join the 'clap for carers' on doorsteps.

The four all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs at Northampton Crown Court last month:

■ Jamie Hobbs, 23, was jailed for seven years, seven months

■ Kray Daniel Stewart, 20, was sentenced to seven years, six months

■ Kaylun Charlie Jermaine Smalley, was sentenced to four years

■ Carl Alan Richardson, 51, was jailed for two years, five months

A fifth man, 20-year-old Jerome Taylor also received a suspended sentence of one year, nine months after admitting possession with intent to supply Class B drugs.

Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Andy Blaize, said: “In my 27 year policing career, this is without doubt, the best Neighbourhood Policing investigation I have ever seen.

“Since these men were put away, the change to the St David’s estate has been remarkable. Levels of crime, violence and anti-social behaviour have all reduced and it has improved the quality of life for our residents.

“This operation is proof that if the community speak to officers and alert them to what is going on in their area, we will act on this intelligence and do everything in our power to make you feel safe again.”

The Northampton Neighbourhood Team launched Operation Eagle in 2020 with the aim of securing enough evidence in order to put the gang behind bars.

Two raids in Drayton Walk during February and March 2020 uncovered a significant amount of heroin, cannabis, cash and weapons while Stewart and Smalley were arrested following a dangerous seven-mile chase in a Ford Fiesta through Northampton, ending with a sting in the village of Holcot where a dealer list and phone used by the group was seized.

Another warrant at the Drayton Walk address in April 2020 ended with more Class A drugs, weapons and cash seized.

A Closure Order was completed on the property a day later, meaning the flat was no longer able to be used by the gang but a later raid on Stewart’s address in Bondfield Avenue in May 2020 uncovered a large quantity of heroin, crack cocaine, cash, weapons and phones.

As a result, Stewart, Hobbs, Smalley, Richardson and Taylor were charged with numerous drugs offences including conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.

All five maintained their innocence until months later when they had sight of the amount of evidence presented against them.