A gang of drug dealers have been jailed after two of them posed for photos with bags of cannabis and bundles of cash.
Eugene May-Dyer, Russell Turner, Ian Cunningham and Grant Barnhurst, all from Birmingham, were arrested during a series of raids in the Kings Norton area of the city in February last year.
Officers seized almost £1,000 of cannabis, dealer bags and digital scales, plus mobile phones containing a back catalogue of text conversations between the group discussing drugs.
Examination of the phone also revealed an image of 18-year-old Turner, from Green Acres, showing off with handfuls of cash and used notes stuffed into his waistband.
Incriminating: Russell Turner (left) with 24-year-old Eugene May-Dyer (right), examining dried cannabis leaf scattered across a floor. The two men and another pair have now been jailed
In another photograph seized from a mobile phone, Turner can be seen with 24-year-old May-Dyer, from Halladale, examining dried cannabis leaf scattered across a floor.
All four admitted conspiracy to supply Class B drugs at Birmingham Crown Court.
Fellow drug suppliers Cunningham, 24, and 21-year-old Barnhurst were both handed nine-month sentences.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Bannister, head of West Midlands Police’s Gang Taskforce, said: ‘These are young men who’d formed a fledgling gang that was on the up.’
He added: ‘We managed to intercept them at an early stage before their criminality could escalate and potentially cause more damage in the Kings Norton community.’
‘As a police force we are committed to a policy of drugs prevention through education and diversion – especially where young people are concerned – but we will not hesitate to push for custodial sentences if necessary.
‘Our communities repeatedly tell us that taking action against drug dealing in communities is a priority for them and urge us to take action; no-one should have to put up with that on their doorstep.
‘That’s what we’ve done and four young men who cockily posed for photos boasting of their drug dealing are now paying the price.’
Police discovered the rookie gang’s cannabis ‘den’ on 10 November 2012 when officers stopped a car being driven away from Turner’s home.
Police found drugs in the car and then searched a shed in Turner’s garden – which had been turned into a ‘chillout summer house’ with a TV – and they found 1.3kg of cannabis.
Fingerprints belonging to May-Dyer and Cunningham were found on the drugs bags while a BlackBerry phone found in the shed contained over 60,000 messages, many of which linked the four men to drug dealings.
Inspector Vanessa Eyles is the Neighbourhood Policing Manager covering the area. She said: ‘The impact these individuals had while dealing and supplying drugs locally was negative and destructive.
‘Their criminal activity caused anti-social behaviour and crime everywhere they dealt. My officers worked closely with the Gangs Task Force to ensure the right people were targeted.’