Published: 11:24, 25 November 2010
by Annette Wilson
A drug gang was cracked when two policemen on patrol spotted them unloading a multi-million stash.
Officers uncovered the staggering haul after getting suspicious about lights left on at an industrial unit in Sellinge.
In the early hours, PCs Playforth and Warren went in to investigate and caught the four men with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of amphetamine.
A search of the unit last July then uncovered a huge quantity of cannabis stashed in a speedboat.
Police said the combined street value of the drugs was potentially £4.5m.
Two other men were later arrested later and all six appeared at Canterbury Crown Court.
The six were jailed for between six to nine years, having admitted two charges of conspiracy to supply class B drugs.
Investigations revealed two previous occasions in July 2009 when it was suspected drugs had been brought in.
Peter Forbes, prosecuting, said the Crown could not say what quantity of drugs was involved in these trips but there was compelling evidence all six men were involved.
Jailing the six, Judge Simon James described the operation as professionally organised, meticulously planned and slickly executed.
He added: "People were likely to benefit to the tune of millions of pounds as a result of your efforts."
He said all had pleaded financial hardship as a reason for getting involved in "this evil trade".
"This court like every Crown Court has to deal on a depressingly regular basis with the misery that addiction and drugs bring to young people, their families and society as a whole."
James Coates, Stephen Townsend, Edward Blake and Jason Cullum were arrested at the scene.
Police later arrested James Davies and Francis Keohane.
Davies, 36, of Mickleborough Hill, Herne Bay was jailed for nine years; Blake, 43, of no fixed address was jailed for eight years.
Townsend, 32, of Hampton Vale, Hythe was jailed for eight years and Keohane, 57, of River Street, Dover was jailed for seven years.
Coates, 44, of Holly Road, Wainscott, Chatham was jailed for six and a half years and Cullum, 23, of Cheriton Road, Folkestone was jailed for six years.
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