An organised crime gang dubbed by locals as ‘The Geordies’, who brought misery to communities in south Devon, have been jailed for a combined total of 105 years.

A judge at Bristol Crown Court this week sentenced the group for a litany of Class A and B drugs offences. Several of its members were also convicted of sexual offences against women.

The gang exerted significant influence and control within Dawlish and Teignmouth and used violence and coercive tactics to maintain a criminal empire valued at £1million.

As a consequence, it exploited a number of vulnerable people and flooded the streets with cocaine and cannabis. Two of its members were also convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin. Five of the gang have been jailed for multiple rapes.

A total of 13 men were sentenced by Judge Michael Longman.

The group, the core of which was in fact made up of individuals originally from Sunderland, used serious violence to enforce debt.

Its leader James Lee Brooks, known as ‘Geordie Lee’, boasted he was the ‘King of Dawlish’.

Brooks, 41, of Dawlish, is now beginning a 25-year prison sentence for 20 drugs and sex offences. These included conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and 13 counts of aiding and abetting rape.

Brooks’s half-brother and key lieutenant John White, aka ‘Johnboy’, was jailed for nine years. White, aged 35, of Chudleigh, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.

Ross Morton was found guilty of eight counts of rape and further charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis. He also admitted a count of coercive and controlling behaviour.

Morton, 32, of Sunderland, was sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Nazrul Islam was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, two counts of rape, and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He admitted conspiracy to supply cannabis and a further charge of possession of ammunition without a licence. Islam, 36, of Teignmouth, was jailed for 11 years.

The gang’s offences occurred between 2018 and 2019. Case officer, detective constable James Brice, said: “This complex investigation involved a group of individuals who have caused misery to many in the Dawlish and other South Devon areas.

“By instilling fear in a small community over a number of years, people were frightened to come forward and provide evidence.

“The police therefore used a wide range of tactics and evidential sources to unravel a complex drugs supply network.

“I want to personally thank those individuals who assisted this investigation. I hope that the various communities and individuals affected by the criminality caused by this group feel that some justice has been done.”

Other key members of the group included John Rowntree, Keiron Archbold, Gavin Brooks and Martin Turner. Rowntree, 35, of Dawlish, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin and cannabis and two further counts of making threats to kill. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Archbold, 22, of Dawlish, and Turner, 41, of Teignmouth, were both convicted of conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and were jailed for six and seven years respectively. Gavin Brooks, 26, of Tyne and Wear, the cousin of James Brooks, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

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