A DRUGS ring which peddled heroin and cocaine in the Black Country has been jailed for more than 47 years after being busted by West Midlands Police.

The six-strong group were behind a £1.5 million Class A operation, which saw phone hotlines set up to organise the sale and delivery of drugs.

Officers snared members of the empire - headed by 32-year-old Lea Brown, of Tanfield Road, Dudley - last year following a detailed investigation.

Brown used his second-in-command Jason Isaarq, of Robin Hood Road, Quarry Bank, to recruit 'runners' who would bag up, store and distribute the drugs mainly around Dudley and Lye areas from 2015.

Officers acted on intelligence to carry out a series of raids at properties which were linked to the group and led to Class A drugs and mobile phones being recovered.

Timothy Pascall, of Ashfield Crescent, Dudley; 40-year-old Ian Martin, of Hillside Avenue, Quarry Bank; Anthony Smith, aged 23, of Heath Road, Dudley and 26-year-old Isaarq all admitted conspiracy to supply illegal substances between October 2015 and April 2017.

Pascall, aged 22, was found with drugs in his car after being stopped following a police pursuit in Tipton in February last year.

Brown and 23-year-old Hammas Naeem, of Valley Road, Stourbridge, were convicted following a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Brown was arrested by officers after a foot chase in Dudley town centre in September last year after being spotted acting suspiciously near a Mercedes car; he threw a bag over a wall during the chase which when recovered was found to contain drugs.

He was discovered with keys to the car which linked officers to Naeem - who had taken out insurance on the vehicle. A search of his home address unearthed wraps of cocaine.

All six members of the drugs gang were sentenced to a total of 47 years and three months today (Friday, November 10).

Brown received a 10 year behavioural order and 16 years imprisonment; Isaarq received a ten year behavioural order and eight-and-a-half years; Smith was jailed for seven years, eight months; Naeem was jailed for four years; Martin received three years and 10 months and Pascall was jailed for seven years and three months.

Detective Sergeant Leighton Shingles from Force CID, who led the investigation, said: "This was a highly sophisticated operation supplying a substantial amount of Class A drugs in the region.

"They were very thorough in trying to cover their tracks but officers worked tirelessly to investigate and secure evidence to expose the illegal business.

"Everyone knows the potentially fatal consequences which drugs can have and there is no doubt they would have still been supplying cocaine and heroin on our streets now had we not managed to shut the network down."

He continued: "Getting money for drugs can often be the catalyst for other crimes such as burglary and robbery, causing more misery in our neighbourhoods.

"I would like to thank the public for the information they provided that helped us catch these men; these sentences should act as deterrent for anyone who thinks they can make easy money selling drugs."