The final member of an organised crime group has been sentenced after heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine, cannabis and synthetic cannabis with a street value of £3M was recovered from a self-storage unit in Lincoln.
The seizure was part of a larger drugs network, involving 1,200kg of heroin and 500kg of cocaine, with a street value of £100m. More than a tonne of heroin alone was established to have been supplied by the conspirators between January and September of 2018.
It was the largest drugs seizure ever made by Lincolnshire Police and led to arrests in Lincoln, Birmingham, Liverpool, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The case at Lincoln Crown Court today (Monday 14 August) was for the sentencing of the last of the conspirators, Daniel Askew, who had concealed 12kg of amphetamine in a bricked-up area of a garage, and had also been found with a further 700g of cocaine in a loft.
During the investigation, it was found that the drugs were collected and distributed by the group to cities across the UK, orchestrated by lead figure Sean Page Snr. Page Snr, who had been on the run from UK police, ran the conspiracy from the Belgian city of Antwerp.
Page Snr and his son, Sean Page Jnr, directed their ‘organisers’ on the ground including Thomas Conway, while Imtiaz Ahmed Raja invested £1 million into the conspiracy, frequently moving between the UK and Belgium.
It was from a meeting involving Thomas Conway in June of 2018 that Lincolnshire Police made its first significant breakthrough. Officers captured footage showing Thomas Conway delivering packages to a North Hykeham home on 6 June. After officers stopped two vehicles, a brown box containing 2kg of pressed cocaine was found in a car while amphetamine was discovered in the car of Thomas Conway.
Further enquiries revealed that drugs were being stored at a facility in Lincoln and the following day a warrant was executed at a unit rented by Mark Golightly. Officers discovered more than 30,000 MDMA tablets and multiple kilos of heroin, amphetamine, cannabis bush, cannabis resin and synthetic cannabis along with a total of £25,000 in cash.
A further search warrant was executed in July 2018 at another address for Thomas Conway at a caravan park in Dunston Fen, Lincolnshire. The amphetamine and cocaine Askew was responsible for were found at that site.
Further searches were made on 5 and 28 September 2018 at UK ports where a further 61kg of heroin and 22kg of cocaine were seized and evidenced as being destined for customers of Sean Page Snr.
Daniel Conway assisted the conspiracy by receiving money on behalf of Thomas Conway posted to him from defendant Peter Nulty who supplied Class B drugs in the Isle of Man.
Although the majority of offenders in this conspiracy were caught in summer 2018, further meticulous police work with assistance from other law enforcement agencies both in the UK and abroad identified those responsible for organising the supply chain. Sean Page Jnr was eventually arrested at Liverpool Airport while attempting to leave the country on Christmas Eve 2018, destined for Amsterdam. Raja was arrested at Birmingham Airport as he arrived into the country from Belgium in April 2019.
Sean Page Snr was located and arrested by the Belgian Police in Antwerp in June 2019. They also confiscated thousands of Euros and false identification documents. Peter Nulty was the last to be arrested, in October 2019 at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport, where he was awaiting the arrival of his partner from the UK.
Chief Superintendent Nikki Mayo said: “This is the largest drugs operation that Lincolnshire Police has ever led on, with millions of pounds of drugs seized, while breaking up a network which flooded the streets of the county, and beyond, with Class A drugs.
"This painstaking operation has seen us recover thousands of exhibits, take 1,000 statements, and work with the National Crime Agency, UK Border Force, plus the Belgian and Dutch authorities. The work that our officers have put in over years to bring this case to trial is an outstanding achievement of first-class policing, keeping our streets safe from the scourge of hard drugs.
"The sheer scale of the conspiracy has made this a particularly complex case, but we will as a Force relentlessly target drug dealers and bring them to justice for their crimes.”
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Kerry Webb, added: “We know that organised crime such as this is intrinsically linked to the violence, exploitation and anti-social behaviour which blights our communities. It is therefore right that we targeted those at the top.
"Organised crime is directly linked to other crime such as modern slavery, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, all of which involve vulnerable people being targeted and exploited. It is for these reasons I am immensely proud of the investigation team. Without their hard work and unwavering dedication these results would not have been possible.”
One defendant, Peter Nulty, 40, of Tynwald Street, Isle of Man, pleaded guilty in March 2021 to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs, and was sentenced to 40 months.
The first trial then began on 20 May, 2019, with all defendants charged with conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs. Mark Golightly, 45, of HMP Lincoln, was found guilty and 8 years and 6 months in prison.
Shortly after the start of the trial, the people listed below changed their pleas to guilty:
Thomas Conway, 70, previously of Cannon Street, Lincoln, was sentenced to 13 years and 6 months.
Daniel Conway, 41, of Sharp Walk, North Hykeham was sentenced to 6 months, suspended for 2 years.
Daniel Askew, 36, of White Horse Inn Caravan Park, Dunston Fen, was sentenced to 2 years, suspended for 2 years.
Jack Pickering, 27, of Coton Road, Nuneaton, was sentenced to 2 years, suspended for 2 years.
Ahead of a second trial which was due to begin on 8 November 2022, all the defendants pleaded guilty:
Sean Page Snr, 51, of Crosby Road, South Seaforth, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply both Class A and Class B controlled drugs and was sentenced to 22 years and 6 months.
Sean Page Jr, 29, of Crosby Road, South Seaforth, Liverpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs was sentenced to 14 years.
Imtiaz Ahmed Raja, 58, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to money laundering was sentenced to 5 years and 11 months.
Below is Mark Golightly:
Below is Imtiaz Raja:
Below is Peter Nulty:
Below is Sean Page Jnr:
Below is Sean Page Snr:
Below is Thomas Conway:
Synthetic cannabis found in the storage locker:
Below, amphetamines can be seen in the interior compartment of the fridge at the top and cannabis in the clear bag below:
Below is cannabis resin bars found stored in a flowery-patterned bag:
Cannabis was found wrapped in yellow and grey packaging:
Ecstasy tablets were uncovered bagged up in sandwich bags:
Heroin was wrapped up in packages marked as Turkish Airlines: