A gang of drug dealers who shipped £1m worth of cannabis and cocaine at an ‘industrial level’ sourced an arsenal of weapons to protect their illegal empire.

The four key members of the North East gang were locked up after hundreds of messages were recovered from mobile phones belonging to the gang showing their efforts to source drugs and weapons.

Lee Moore, Charles Dodkins, and Daniel Snowdon were operating out of the Redcar area with the support of William Brown who was making the connections in Glasgow and Manchester.

And it was a raid on the Redcar home of Dodkins that gave police the breakthrough they required as they faced a number of drugs and weapons charges, Teesside Crown Court heard.

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Judge Chris Smith locked gang for a total of almost 65 years for their ‘industrial level’ illicit drugs enterprise.

He said: “Each of you were attracted by the large sums of money you could get from the cocaine and cannabis while dealing on a commercial scale and the closely associated conspiracy to possess firearms with intent to cause fear of violence.

The Northern Echo: Charles DodkinsCharles Dodkins (Image: Cleveland Police)

“The police raised your home address, Charles Dodkins, and you Lee Moore and Daniel Snowdon were also there, they found cocaine worth £12,000 and a large sum of cash.

“A Rolex watch was seized from the house and notebook found stashed in a beanbag was found to contain a list of names and numbers consistent with the largescale supply of cocaine and cannabis.

“The scale of the enterprise was supported by messages recovered from mobile telephones. A long-running text conversation between Lee Moore and William Brown referenced kilogramme deals in cocaine.”

The Northern Echo: Lee MooreLee Moore (Image: Cleveland Police)

The judge added: "Drug trafficking on this sort of scale brings with it significant risk, so to instil the necessary fear in those you were dealing with you set about arming yourselves with a host of dangerous weapons."

Anthony Pettengell, prosecuting, said weapons and ammunition were recovered by police following a raid on Dodkins’ home on Staithes Road, Redcar, on August 9, 2021.

Officers found a de-commissioned handgun, a replica Colt, two self-loading semi-automatic weapons and a silencer hidden inside a bag with some ammunition.

The Northern Echo: Weapons and ammunition seized by Cleveland PoliceWeapons and ammunition seized by Cleveland Police (Image: Cleveland Police)

Mr Pettengell conceded that none of the ammunition was for any of the weapons seized and there was no evidence they had been used by the gang.

The Northern Echo: Daniel SnowdonDaniel Snowdon (Image: Cleveland Police)

The court heard how £12,300 worth of cocaine was recovered along with a £10,500 Rolex watch and £18,000 in cash stuffed inside a beanbag seat.

A book was also seized which showed deals totalling around £1m had been carried out by the gang, Mr Pettengell added.

A series of messages between 48-year-old Moore and 31-year-old Brown showed the pair regularly talked about drug deals and sourcing weapons or body armour.

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Dodkins, 29, of now of Barsby Green, Middlesbrough, was jailed for a total of 14 years and six months. While 48-year-old Moore, of Queensbury Close, Redcar, was locked up for 14 years and four months.

Co-accused, 42-year-old Snowdon, of Westfield Way, Redcar, was jailed for 14 years, and 31-year-old Brown, of Langside Road, Glasgow, was sentenced to a total of 21 years and four months after being found guilty of the most serious offences.

The Northern Echo: William BrownWilliam Brown (Image: Cleveland Police)

The gang were sentenced after either pleading guilty or being found guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs – cocaine; conspiracy to supply Class B drugs – cannabis; conspiracy to possess weapons with intent to cause fear or alarm; possession of prohibited weapons and ammunition; and possession of criminal property.

A proceeds of crime act hearing will take place at a later date to recover some of their illicit cash and goods.