MEMBERS of a drugs gang who made an estimated £1.1 million dealing cocaine in the Chippenham area have been jailed thanks to a neighbourhood policing investigation.

The local neighbourhood team in the town used their local knowledge and community intelligence to lead a complex investigation into the supply of Class A drugs.

It began in November 2020, when Joshua Carey was stopped by officers and found to be in possession of a large quantity of cash, as well as cocaine.

He was arrested but released under investigation to give the team the opportunity to carry out detailed enquiries into the wider group of people involved with the drug-dealing network.

Over the next seven months, they gathered intelligence, executed numerous warrants and seized evidence to compile their case.

Their evidence included the analysis of thousands of text messages, which, when reviewed by a drug expert witness, concluded that 16.5 kilos of cocaine had been sold by the group, creating a potential £1.1 million profit.

Joshua Carey, 31, of Royal Close, Chippenham, who proclaimed himself to be the ‘King’ of drug supply in Chippenham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, possession with intent to supply and possession of criminal property.

He was sentenced to three concurrent sentence: five years, three years, and 27 months respectively.

Mark Ridd, 38, of Carnarvon Close, Chippenham, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. He was jailed for three years and four months.

Proceeds of crime proceedings have been started against the suspects to ensure any money made from their drug dealing enterprise is recovered.

Inspector James Brain, from the Chippenham Neighbourhood Team, said: “Carey and his accomplices were running a highly organised and profitable set-up, dealing Class A drugs in the Chippenham area.

“Despite the scale of the operation, the neighbourhood team worked incredibly hard to gather evidence and secure convictions against these individuals.

“Their efforts have allowed us to disrupt this supply of cocaine, get these drugs off our streets and ensure they all now spend time in jail.”

Sergeant Richard Marshall added: “We rely on information from the local community, and we hope this case shows how seriously we take the supply and distribution of illegal drugs.

“Whether these operations are small-scale or large-scale, we all know the harm this sort of criminality brings to our towns and cities and we will take action against them.”

To report drug dealing activity call 101, or 999 if a crime is in progress. You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.