A GANG of drug dealers plying their trade selling cocaine and heroin in Evesham has been sentenced to more than 21 years between them.

The sentence of the four dealers comes after a three-year investigation by police into a ‘deal line’ known as the Jay line, used to run the organised drug-dealing network.

The operation, codenamed Op Zeppelin, began with the arrest of drugs runners Joel Phillips, 19, and Jake Ford, 26, on April 4, 2020.

Evesham Journal: SEIZED: A BMW car key taser, cannabis, a meat cleaver and mobile phones SEIZED: A BMW car key taser, cannabis, a meat cleaver and mobile phones (Image: West Mercia Police)

Information was received by South Worcestershire County Lines officers a local address was being 'cuckooed' by people from the Birmingham. This is when dealers set up shop in someone's home, sometimes the home of a vulnerable person addicted to drugs.

A warrant was carried out at the address and both Phillips and Ford were found inside. Ford had £1,200 cash on him, Phillips was found in possession of a meat cleaver and Class A drugs.

Further drugs were then recovered hidden within the address and enquiries linked both Ford and Phillips to the Jay Line.

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Four men were sentenced to a total of 21 years for running the Jay Line in Evesham On April 21, 2020, the Jay Line’s ‘lieutenant’ Emmanuel Freeman-Douglas, 27, was arrested for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs after a warrant was executed at an address in the West Midlands area.

During the search more than 300g of cannabis was found together with more than £5,000 in cash.

Eight days later, information was received the Jay Line was back operating out of an address in Evesham. Several local drug users were stopped and found in possession of Class A drugs.

A nearby address was identified, officers entered, and Reece Young, 22, was found hiding in the bathroom. Several phones were recovered, plus more than £700 in cash and a taser disguised as a BMW car key.

On June 8, 2020, a warrant was executed at the home of Nathaniel Miles-Webster, 27, and at a second address in Kidderminster.

He was arrested at his home where £585 of cash and 385g of cannabis were found together with multiple phones and SIM cards linked to drug supply including Evesham’s Jay Line.

Overall, the investigation recovered more than £8,000 in cash, almost 1kg of cannabis and £1,000 worth of Class A drugs.

Some of the evidence gathered during Op Zeppelin The line holder Nathaniel Miles-Webster, 27, of Heathside Drive, Birmingham, was sentenced to seven years and four months in prison for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs during the hearing at Worcester Crown Court on Friday, November 3.

Emmanuel Freeman-Douglas, 27, of Shannon Road, Birmingham, was given a total custodial sentence of six years and seven months for being concerned in the supply of heroin, possession of criminal property, possession of class B drugs and being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine.

Reece Young, 22, of Harvest Road, Rowley Regis, got three years and ten months for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, while Jake Ford, 26, of Saffron House, Kings Norton got a three-year sentence for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of criminal property.

A fifth man, Joel Phillips, 19, of Bristol Road South, Northfield, was given a two-year sentence, suspended for 18 months for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

Detective Sergeant Luke Papps of South Worcestershire County Lines team said: “The conviction of these drug dealers marks the conclusion of a lengthy but successful investigation into the Jay Line which was dealing dangerous drugs into our communities here in South Worcestershire.

“Putting this gang behind bars removes another threat in our daily battle to rid the streets of this most impactful and harmful illegal activity as we continue to actively identify, investigate and prosecute all others attempting to do the same.”

The local community can help us by continuing to report any signs of criminal activity – the easiest way to do this is on the West Mercia website.

You can report online under the Report A Crime section at West Mercia Police If you have information about drugs and drugs supply and don’t want to speak to police, you can report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org/ This investigation forms part of Operation Target – West Mercia Police’s work to tackle serious and organised crime.