Four men have been jailed for their parts in a conspiracy to import and supply 157 kilograms of Class A controlled drugs valued at £14,000,000.

All four appeared at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Monday, 11 April, where they were sentenced as follows:

Harry Brydges, 30 (24.10.91) of Bessemer Close, Basildon, Essex was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to import and conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs.

Harry Simmons, 31 (07.03.91) of Parkside, Baisldon, Essex was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to import a Class A controlled drugs.

John Taylor, 29 (04.09.92) of Lobelia Mews, Laindon, Essex was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs.

Milos Stevanovic, 27 (27.07.94) of no fixed address was sentenced to 11 years and 8 months imprisonment’ for conspiracy to import a Class A controlled drugs.

All four had previously pleaded guilty at the same court.

This outcome was the result of a joint operation between Northamptonshire Police and the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

On 23 April 2021 officers from Northamptonshire stopped an Audi Q7 on the M1 motorway travelling toward London. A search of the vehicle recovered 85 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride. John Taylor was arrested for possession with intent to supply Class A controlled drugs.

On 12 May 2021, specialist Met officers witnessed an associate of John Taylor, a man called Harry Brydges; meet with another associate of Taylor, Harry Simmons. Brydges passed Simmons £9,000 in cash which Simmons took to Gravesend where he met lorry driver Milos Stevanovic, a Bosnian national.

Simmons and Stevanovic were arrested as they unloaded 37 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride and 35 kilograms of MDMA crystals, which has just entered the UK in the lorry driven by Stevanovic.

An arrest enquiry was conducted at Brydges’ address in Basildon, during which he jumped from a first floor window in a bid to escape but was arrested.

Detective Inspector Dave Williams of the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “This case clearly highlights the positive outcomes that can be achieved through joint working.

“Working in partnership with our policing colleagues in Northamptonshire we have dismantled a network that used UK motorways to distribute drugs around the country.

“Despite the pandemic, there was a clear motivation to flood the UK with significant amounts of harmful Class A drugs that fuel violence, increase the chances of vulnerable youngsters being exploited into county lines, and ultimately affects the quality of life for our communities.

“We remain committed to tackling the importation and sale of illegal drugs and the sentences handed down clearly demonstrate the seriousness of these crimes.”

Detective Superintendent Rich Tompkins from Northamptonshire Police said: “I’m really pleased with the results of this joint operation with our Met colleagues, and the successful conviction of these individuals.

“It shows that by Forces working together we can tackle the scourge of drug dealers who use our road networks to transport and distribute illegal, harmful drugs into our towns and cities.

“I hope it sends a message to others concerned with this type of organised crime. We will proactively pursue you and when caught you will face a significant prison sentence and have your assets seized.”

+ Do you have information about somewhere you think is being used to deal drugs, create drugs or grow cannabis? If you have information that could help keep your community safe, but don’t want to speak to police, please contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They do not ask your name and cannot trace your call or I.P address.

Any young people who have information about drug dealing or want information about the consequences of drug crime, can visit www.fearless.org to where they can pass on information anonymously – your I.P address will not be traced. Fearless is part of the Crimestoppers charity, and is also independent of the police.