East Preston and Bracklesham Bay men sentenced for cocaine conspiracy

SIX men have now been sentenced for their roles in a conspiracy to supply cocaine in Sussex.

Mark Taylor, 36, of no fixed address, was sentenced to five years in prison at Hove Crown Court yesterday (Friday, January 24) after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

Barry Harlow, 65, of Arlington Crescent, EastPreston, who had also pleaded guilty at a previous hearing, was sentenced to six years imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court.

Andrew Billings, 33, a motor dealer, of Bracklesham Caravan and Boat Club, Bracklesham Bay, was sentenced to six-and-a-half years at Hove Crown Court on Friday, January 13, after pleading guilty.

Three other men were also sentenced on January 13.

Albert Mouhtiseb, 28, a shop worker, of Pampisford Road, South Croydon, Surrey, who had pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to seven years, Darren Henwood, 37, a car salesman, of Park Road, Faygate, who had pleaded guilty, was sentenced to six-and-a-half-years and Charles Smith, 41, unemployed, of Little Horsgate, Hanlye Lane, Cuckfield, who had pleaded not guilty, was sentenced to four years.

Police operation

An operation carried out by detectives from the serious organised crime unit resulted in Harlow and Mouhtiseb being arrested when they arrived in separate cars in the car park of the Cottesmore Golf and Country Club, Buchan Hill, Pease Pottage, near Crawley, at 12.30pm on Friday, April 1.

A package containing cocaine, with an estimated street value of some £450,000 when cut, was seized from Harlow’s car.

Officers also seized £24,000 in cash from the car being used by Mouhtiseb.

Shortly afterwards, detectives went to a business unit at nearby White Herons Farm, Forest Road, Colgate and arrested Henwood, Billings and Smith.

Equipment for use in cutting and preparing cocaine for distribution was discovered there.

Taylor was arrested later as a result of further enquiries.

Acquitted

Lee Burton-Asante, 43, was acquitted of the same charge.

Detective Chief Inspector Ali Eaton said; “These two final sentences bring to a close a very successful operation.

“Henwood was the ringleader of this group, closely supported by Billings, with Harlow acting as a courier.

“Taylor had passed the drugs on to Mouhtiseb, who was also a key member, for onward sale to Henwood and no doubt for later distribution, when cut, on to the streets of Sussex.

“It was particularly satisfying for us to be able to dismantle an entire drugs distribution operation from initial couriers to the principal and his associates.

“In addition, during January this year, we secured court financial confiscation orders against five of the defendants under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).”

“Mouthiseb has to pay back into society £24,656, Henwood has to repay £3,080, Billings £751.81, Harlow £750 and Smith £89.59.

“Criminals like this need to know that we will relentlessly target them and seek to bring them to justice, in the interests of all law abiding people and local communities.”

There was no suggestion of any involvement in the case of the management or staff at the golf club of White Herons Farm.