A WOMAN who stored drugs and money for an organised crime gang has been jailed for three and a half years.

Melanie Bevan was involved in the conspiracy to supply cocaine across the region while she was involved in a relationship with one of the key members of an international drugs ring.

The 44-year-old became embroiled in the multi-million pound network throughout 2015 when she acted as a courier for her partner Benjamin Cahill, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Richard Herrmann, prosecuting, said the gang were involved in the 'commercial supply' of high quality cocaine from South America.

He said: "This conspiracy involved 84kg of cocaine and the defendant's involvement was limited to couriering money or drugs and chauffeuring her partner Cahill.

"Her property was also used to store drugs and cash. She took part in two identifiable trips to the Wigan area, trips to the Northampton area and the chauffeuring of Cahill to Thurrock for the attempt to get 50kg of cocaine from Tilbury Docks."

Bevan, of Milton Grove, Shotton, was convicted by a jury following a trial in March this year.

Mark Monaghan, in mitigation, said his client had played a minor role in the enterprise and didn't make a significant amount of money out of her role.

Judge Deborah Sherwin sentenced her to three and a half years.

Bevan was the latest member of the gang to be imprisoned for her role in the conspiracy.

Drug dealers, including Anthony Sweeney and Bevan's partner, Cahill, were supposed to pick up the 50kilo consignment, which had been arranged for them by one of the defendants, David Gloyne.

Gloyne served as the head of a North-East crime group and had orchestrated the shipment with the help of his co-accused, Yvan Nikolic.

The pair had met in Spain and Nikolic, who was born in Yugoslavia, used his status as a prominent member of an organised criminal Balkan group to have the drugs shipped in from Brazil so they could be transported to the North-East and sold.

Anthony Sweeney, 34, of Crake Way, Washington, previously admitted conspiring to supply class A drugs, kidnap, false imprisonment and assault and was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Benjamin Cahill, 30, of Doncaster, previously admitted conspiracy to supply class A drugs and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.

Yvan Nikolic, 56, of Paris, was convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and sentenced to 21 years behind bars and must serve a minimum of ten-and-a-half years.

David Gloyne, 37, of Plawsworth, Durham, was convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs, kidnap and false imprisonment and was also sentenced to 21 years with a minimum term of ten-and-a-half years.