Three people have been sentenced following an operation aimed to disrupt drug-dealing in Bognor Regis.
Stephen Lawson, Leon Stanford and Kerry Grzegorz were each arrested on separate occasions in summer 2020 in connection with the possession and supply of Class A drugs.
They came to attention after a local PCSO raised concerns about drug-dealing at hot spots in the town centre.
In response to this, Sussex Police’s Tactical Enforcement Unit (TEU) carried out high visibility and plain-clothed patrols aimed to crack down on the issue.
On 3 June 2020, Stanford was arrested after TEU officers found him in possession of four wraps of low purity crack cocaine and four wraps of low purity heroin, as well as a wallet containing £255 cash, in Hothampton car park.
On 27 June 2020, police in plain clothes witnessed suspicious activity in Crescent Road. Stanford and Grzegorz engaged with two unknown men and were subsequently searched. The search was negative and they were allowed on their way.
However, just 30 minutes later, the pair were seen in a secluded area of Hotham Park interacting with another man, identified as Lawson.
All three were stopped by TEU officers, and 143 wraps of crack cocaine and heroin as well as £745 cash were located. All three were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Then on 2 July 2020, police received a tip-off about drug-dealing in Waterloo Square. Local Neighbourhood Policing Team officers attended, and found Stanford and Grzegorz both in possession of disposable coffee cups, which contained a total of approximately 200 wraps of suspected Class A drugs. Stanford also had £640 cash on him.
The West Sussex Community Investigation Team (CIT) progressed these investigations, securing charges of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, and the three suspects were sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court on 12 September.
Lawson, 50, of Beach Road, Littlehampton, was sentenced to 43 months’ imprisonment; Stanford, 51, of Annandale Avenue, Bognor Regis, was sentenced to 33 months’ imprisonment; and Grzegorz, 45, also of Annandale Avenue, Bognor Regis, was sentenced to 22 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.
The judge commented that Lawson played a “significant role” in the operation, while Stanford was managed by him but still “very active”, and Grzegorz was “being used”.
Sergeant Chris Bryant, of TEU, said: “Our main aim with this operation was to prevent, detect and disrupt criminality in the Bognor Regis area.
“Within the Tactical Enforcement Unit we were able to ensure we had sufficient resources to achieve this aim. This operation also led to further convictions of individuals linked to the same county drugs line operating in the area.
“Working with colleagues and acting on information and intelligence provided by vigilant members of public, together we were able to secure convictions against some of the area’s main street dealers, preventing them from being able to supply drugs which cause so much harm in our community.”