Joseph Hawkins, aged 28, and Ricky Purcell, aged 29, both of Rollason Road, Erdington, were sentenced on Tuesday 10 August at Worcester Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs.

In June 2021 West Mercia Police officers launched an investigation to specifically target the county line drug dealing enterprise operating under the street name of ‘TJ’. This led to arrest of Hawkins and Purcell on 15 June 2021 in Leominster.

Hawkins was sentenced to 4 years 9 months and Purcell was sentenced to 4 years 4 months. Their guilty plea took into account their acknowledgement that they were the organisers of the TJ drug line.

Herefordshire Detective Sergeant Jamie Bullock said: “This prompt investigation and sentence should be a stark warning to those who think it is acceptable to undertake this criminality to think twice. The impact this has on our communities will not be tolerated.

“I urge anyone who is concerned that drug dealing is happening in their street or town to please contact us, or Crimestoppers and we will investigate. We are determined to keep people safe and protect them from harm and working together we can achieve this.

“We work closely with our partner agencies, to tackle serious and organised crime, such as county lines under our campaign – Protect.

“Protect is West Mercia Police’s response to tackling serious and organised crime and those who cause the most harm in our communities to protect people from harm.”

Anyone concerned about drug dealing in their local area can be reported online here. If you have information but don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers. It is 100% anonymous, they never ask your name and they cannot trace your call or I.P address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111.