DRUGS gang members have been jailed after a major police crackdown in Southampton.

Omar Prince Thomas, Brian Hill and Christopher Vine admitted being involved in the cocaine trade in the city and were given prison sentences of more than 12 years combined.

They were caught as part of Hampshire Police’s Operation Vulture drugs crackdown when search warrants were carried out in early 2013 at Vanguard Road, Midanbury, Calmore Drive,Totton, Wittering Road, Lordshill, and Inkerman Road, Woolston.

Cocaine and mixing agents were seized and a number of arrests made.

The trio were sentenced at Southampton Crown Court and received the following:

  •  Prince Thomas, 26, of Mortimer Road, was jailed for eight years for two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
  •  Hill, 45, of no fixed address, was jailed for two-and-a-half-years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
  • Vine, 28, of Calmore Drive, was jailed for two years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Also sentenced as part of the sting was Samantha Goudling, 40, of Wittering Road, who was given an 18-month suspended sentence and Cara Bannister, 25, of Vanguard Road who received a 12-month suspended sentence, both on drugs related charges.

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Jason Attwell, said: “These convictions represent the dismantling of a well orchestrated, structured and organised crime group supplying Class A drugs, specifically cocaine throughout the city of Southampton and surrounding areas"

“Omar Prince Thomas was the head of this group and proved himself to be a very determined and organised drug dealer. He identified and utilised a network of vulnerable people in his ongoing illegal business enterprise. It was only through the tenacity and hard work of Southampton's dedicated drug-related violent crime team, Operation Fortress, that the group was brought to justice.

"In particular I would like to highlight the excellent work of the case officers, DS Edis and DC Blanche for the dedicated and professional investigation they conducted ensuring these convictions where achieved."

Operation Fortress is a campaign involving police and other agencies to crackdown on drug-related violence in Southampton and restrict the supply of the illegal trade.

Anyone with information on drugs should contact police on 101, email operation.fortress@hampshire.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.