Quickly exit this site by pressing the Escape key Leave this site
This site is a beta, which means it's a work in progress and we'll be adding more to it over the next few weeks. Your feedback helps us make things better, so please let us know what you think.
Three men have been jailed for their roles in the supply of Class A drugs in Colchester thanks to a complex operation run by Essex Police in order to keep the town’s streets safe.
A man and a woman were also handed suspended sentences for their part in the network while one man was made the subject of a community order and has been banned from all pubs and clubs in Colchester for 18 months.
We launched the operation in June 2021 after noting a rise in violent night-time incidents, which we suspected were linked to the sale of drugs, specifically cocaine, in Colchester.
Using a variety of tactics, we were able to identify a number of people involved in the sale of drugs in the town, which we could also link to incidents of serious violence.
During the investigation, the sale of drugs was witnessed by plain clothes police officers on a number of occasions, including in four licensed venues in Colchester, including the Leather Bottle, the Royal Mortar and two town centre pubs, and at a petrol station in Shrub End Road.
Through those deals, we were able to work to expose the network, which included Karlin Cavill, Jordan Gibbins, Adam Stephenson, Benjamin Skelton, Nigel Parkes, Shane Dadds and John Stone.
Stephanie Szymanska was also found to have supplied cocaine.
Officers were able to identify Cavill through intelligence, which consistently placed him near to a known phone line which was marketing drugs.
Cavill, Stephenson, Gibbins, Skelton were more significant players in the network and used Parkes, Dadds and Stone to complete the deals.
In December 2021, our teams carried out coordinated strikes which resulted in a number of people being arrested on suspicion of a variety of offences.
During searches of a number of addresses linked to them, we found evidence of drug preparation and transportation.
In the home of Adam Stephenson, we located a Deliveroo food delivery backpack which had 685g of cocaine in it. We also uncovered £25,000 from the 31-year-old’s sock drawer.
Officers also seized a significant number of high value items from his home.
In total, 13 people have admitted their roles. Six of those were sentenced today, Monday 16 May, at Ipswich Crown Court.
Two other men have been previously sentenced as part of the operation after admitting their roles in supplying Class A drugs in Colchester.
A 28-year-old man was sentenced to 20 months in jail suspended for two years. He must also complete 100 hours of unpaid work. A 19-year-old man was sentenced to 20 months in a young offender institution, suspended for two years. He must also complete 120 hours of unpaid work.
Serious crime prevention orders will be applied for against Cavill, Donovan, Edwards, Gibbins, McDonald, Parkes, Skelton and Stephenson,
Such orders are intended to be used against those involved in serious crime, with the specific terms designed to protect the public by preventing, restricting or disrupting involvement in serious crime.
Detective Constables Ellie Jack and Rob McWilliams, of our serious violence unit, led our investigation. In a statement, they said:
“The sentencing of the group is the result of a complex six-month investigation which required a number of tactical operations in order to identify where and how these drugs were being supplied.
“Our inquiries led us to a core group of people which we have been able to prove were involved in supplying Class A drugs in Colchester.
“As a force, tackling high harm crimes such as drug dealing, and the violence associated with that, is a priority and our message has consistently been clear; drug dealing doesn’t pay in Essex.
“If you believe you are above the law and are intent on selling drugs in our county, you will be arrested, and we will already have an overwhelming case against you prepared which leaves you very little option but to admit your crimes.
“You only have to look at the 13 people charged so far in this case, all of whom have made admissions, resulting in no trials taking place."
“Colchester is a wonderful town with a busy nightlife which naturally leads to a busy night-time economy; that’s what we want, but we want it to be safe.
“We want people who are choosing to come here to enjoy themselves to be able to do it in a safe environment. We were able to link the actions of these people directly to a rise in violent incidents in the town and we wasted no time in using all resources available to us to arrest them, charge them and put them before the courts.
“Drug use and the crime which is sadly associated with it is not something which we as the police tackle alone and in this case we worked very closely with our partners in Colchester Borough Council on the issue and they, too, acted swiftly as they saw fit.
“Colchester is a really safe place to live, work and socialise and we do everything we can to ensure the behaviour of the few does not impact on the majority.”
- Chief Inspector Rob Huddleston, Colchester district commander.
"We know the impact drugs have on our communities and the associated crime they bring.
“We will continue to do all we can to work in partnership with Essex Police, taking swift and decisive action to ensure people visiting licensed premises feel safe and helping to put those responsible before the courts.
“This is a key driver behind our recent #SeeYouSafer campaign, helping to keep Colchester safe.”
- Interim Chair of Colchester Safer Partnership, Lucie Breadman