Four men jailed after burying drugs in countryside

William Locke, Jake Holliday, James Martin, and Jake Gregory, have been jailed by Ipswich Crown Court for drug crimes. 

William Locke, Jake Holliday, James Martin, and Jake Gregory, have been jailed by Ipswich Crown Court for drug crimes. - Credit: Essex Police

Four men who buried drugs in glass jars in the north Essex countryside have been jailed. 

Essex Police officers found 2.5kg of drugs with an estimated street value of up to £180,000 between September and December 2019 in two rural locations in Colchester.

The gang would then retrieve them from the hiding places to process and sell on from a house in Trinity Street, Halstead. 

The four men pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine on January 17 2020 at Ipswich Crown Court and were sentenced today, Friday 21 May.

Jake Gregory, of no fixed address, ran the group and James Martin allowed them to process drugs at his home in Trinity Street, Halstead.

William Locke of Devon Road, Colchester and Jake Holliday were the runners who retrieved drugs from the hiding places and sold them on.

All four were arrested on December 11 2019.

Holliday had also admitted possession with intent to supply cocaine for a separate offence in April 2019, where officers seized cocaine and £2,500.

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And he had admitted possession with intent to supply cannabis after bags of herbal cannabis were seized from a car he was driving in April 2018.

Gregory, 28, of no fixed address, was jailed for nine years and four months.

Holliday, 26, was jailed for eight years and eight months.

Martin, 44, formerly of Trinity Street, Halstead, and Locke, 23, of no fixed address, were both sentenced to six years and three months.

Gregory and Holliday were made subject of Serious Crime Prevention Orders, which will put restrictions on them when they are released from prison.

Hearings for similar orders against Martin and Locke will be held in due course.

Chief Inspector Steve Nelson said: “Today’s court hearing is the conclusion of a lengthy investigation to dismantle an organised crime group involved in drugs and firearms.

“Four other members were previously jailed in the last six months for firearms offences, and together these eight individuals have been given sentences totalling more than 59 years.

“Our officers work tirelessly to bring criminals such as these to justice and to keep our communities safe from weapons and drugs.

“Fortunately few people will ever be affected by this type of crime, and we’re committed to keeping it that way.”