Update: Wed 24 February

Ten men arrested as part of Operation Nemesis have all been charged with one count of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine).

One has appeared before magistrates this morning (Wed) and been remanded in custody, the other nine have been bailed to appear before magistrates in Cannock on a date to be fixed.

Marc Brookes, aged 40, of Moreton Parade, Newcastle, appeared before magistrates in Newcastle this morning and was remanded in custody to appear back at the court at a later date.

The following nine have all been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine) and will appear at court in due course.

Thomas Chapman, aged 26, of Heaton Terrace, Porthill, Newcastle.

Andrew Szulc, aged 51,of Easdale Place, Newcastle.

Anthony Colton, aged 29, of Chiltern Place, Newcastle.

Samuel Giliker, aged 29, of Moreton Parade, Newcastle.

Andrew Edwards, aged 35, of  Whitchurch Grove, Newcastle.

Andrew Pickerill, aged 32, of Heath Avenue, Newcastle.

Nicholas Hickson, aged 45, formerly of Moorfields, Stafford.

David Birks, aged 43, of Pear Tree Lane, Newcastle.

Robert Farrow, aged 43, from Trevithick Close, Bentilee, Stoke-on-Trent.


Ten men have been arrested in connection with suspected drugs offences as part of Operation Nemesis.

As part of a pre-planned operation by Staffordshire Police and the National Crime Agency the 10 were arrested at various locations this morning, Tuesday, at approximately 7am.

They have been taken into custody where they will be questioned.

The men are aged between 26 and 51 and live in the Newcastle, Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford areas.

Arrests at a number of addresses were followed by searches. Officers have recovered a quantity of powder, suspected to be class A controlled drugs. This will now be subject to a detailed forensic examination.

DI Lesley Fowler, from Staffordshire Police, said: “We are committed to tackling drug crime in the communities we serve.

“Today’s arrests form part of the force’s ongoing Operation Nemesis campaign, which specifically targets those suspected of drug crime.

“Thanks to information received from members of the public we were able to arrest a number of people suspected of being involved in such activity following months of investigative work.

“Operation Nemesis forms part of our daily business and we will continue to act on information received about suspected drug crime.

“If you suspect it, report it.”

Anyone with information on drug crime in their community is urged to report it by calling 101.


NEWS: Three arrested in Operation Nemesis raid in Cannock

Officers have arrested three people after executing a drugs warrant this morning, Friday 8 January.

The raid was carried out at around 7am at an address in Stafford Road, Cannock, where a quantity of suspected class A drugs were discovered and seized.

Two men, a 37-year-old from Rugeley and a 38-year-old from Birmingham, and a 33-year-old woman from Cannock, were arrested on suspicion of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply. They remain in custody for questioning.

Operation Nemesis is the force’s ongoing commitment to tackling those involved in drug supply.

If you suspect drug supply in your area please contact us on 101 or you can

contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

NEWS: Stoke-on-Trent man charged after pursuit

Officers on routine patrol attempted to stop a silver Peugeot 206 in Station Road, Stoke-on-Trent, at around 8.55pm on Wednesday 11 November.

The vehicle failed to stop and after a short pursuit the driver stopped the vehicle in Geene Street and attempted to make off but was arrested.

Dean Page, 30, of Liverpool Road, Stoke-on-Trent, has been charged with driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, failing to stop for a police officer and possession of class B drugs, Amphetamine. He remains on bail to appear before magistrates in Newcastle-under-Lyme on Tuesday 23 December.

Man arrested following Hazlehurst Street incident

Earlier this afternoon police in Stoke-on-Trent attended a mid terraced property in Hazlehurst Street, Stoke-on-Trent to investigate concerns raised by a local resident about the property. Officers forced entry to the property on discovered the house was being used for the production of cannabis.

A man in the property climbed into the loft space and then broke through the roof and climbed on to a number of neighbours properties. Police contained the location until specialist officers trained to work at heights supported by colleagues from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue managed to safely detain the male on the roof.

The fire service using a hydraulic platform brought the man to the ground where he was immediately arrested on suspicion of the cultivation on cannabis. He has been taken into custody and will be questioned by officers.

A forensic search of the address will now take place as officers progress the investigation.

Inspector Jason Allport from Staffordshire Police coordinated the response to the incident said “We worked to resolve the incident as quickly and safely as possible. We kept the road closed to allow the fire and rescue and police working at heights team to work safely and to prevent any risk of injury to the local residents.”

Anyone with any concerns about drugs in their community is urged to call Staffordshire Police on 101 or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.Arrest in Hazelhurst St

NEWS: Man arrested for drug supply in South Staffordshire

Officers on routine patrol carried out a check of a vehicle in Upper Avenue, Brewood, at around 10.30pm on Monday 26 October.

Upon searching the vehicle they discovered a quantity of suspected drugs (class A and B) and cash. The driver, a 20-year-old man from Wolverhampton, was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and drug supply offences and he remains on bail while inquiries continue.

If you have any information on drug supply in your area please report it to us on 101. Alternatively, you can contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form awww.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

Don’t die because of a ‘Legal High’

PHOTO: Example of 'legal highs'
PHOTO: Example of ‘legal highs’

Over the past two weeks emergency services in Staffordshire have dealt with two incidents where people have suddenly collapsed after taking so-called ‘legal highs‘. 

On Monday emergency services were called to the Burnthill Lane area of Rugeley after receiving information a 19-year-old had collapsed after reportedly taking ‘black mamba’. He was rushed to hospital and remains in a stable condition. 

On Thursday 15 October three men were taken to hospital after being taken ill in Stafford town centre after reportedly taking ‘black mamba’ (a synthetic cannabinoid).

Stock Photo: PCSO
Stock Photo: PCSO

It is believed the prompt action of a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who provided immediate first aid and called for colleagues from West Midlands Ambulance Service may have prevented a more serious outcome. 

The three men who collapsed have since recovered. 

Ch Insp Jane Hewett, from Staffordshire Police, said: “Despite what people think some of these drugs are actually illegal and certainly dangerous. 

“I urge people using these substances to think again, get help and please don’t risk your life. 

“In these two incidents the men who have taken such substances have been extremely lucky, despite their initial critical conditions. 

“More information about the danger of these drugs, and more information about the law and implications of being caught using these drugs is available from www.talktofrank.com” 

Steve Wheaton, Assistant Chief Ambulance Officer at West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “Legal Highs are proving to be an increasing challenge for our staff.

“As the chemicals are untested, unregulated and are often mixed with alcohol, the effect on the patient can vary considerably which presents very real difficulties for our staff. Those who take the drugs are often not forthcoming with details of what it is that they have taken which makes treatment problematic.

“Very often the effect can lead to the patient suffering extreme highs and lows which can result in patients appearing to be suffering mental health issues at one end of the scale to violence at the other which can lead to the criminal justice system becoming involved.

“Unfortunately, this is an increasing issue for us.”

Tony Mercer, Health Improvement Manager (Drugs and Alcohol) for Public Health England in the West Midlands, said: “The risks from new psychoactive substances, such as synthetic cannabinoids, can be particularly high especially when so little is known about the content, which can be dangerous and in some cases lead to death. If anyone is in trouble after taking an illegal or legal drug, they should call an ambulance or a paramedic straight away.”
FRANK Strapline logoFor information on drugs, visit the FRANK website

Police warn of dangerous batches of cocaine and ecstasy

Staffordshire Police is warning people in Stoke-on-Trent that dangerous batches of cocaine and ecstasy could be in circulation after two men were taken seriously ill. It is suspected that this is linked to the use of controlled drugs.

Officers advice is to steer clear of illegal drugs altogether, but if you have taken something that has made you feel unwell or you are experiencing unexpected symptoms, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Four men get sentences totalling 31 years for drugs offences

Andrew Pettit
Andrew Pettit

Four men from Staffordshire, caught in an undercover operation that saw more than £334,000 worth of cocaine seized, were today, September 24, sentenced to a total of 31 years in jail.

Andrew Pettit, aged 45 and his 44-year-old brother Michael Pettit, Kevin Marsden, aged 47, and Paul Cooper, aged 30, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court.

Michael Pettit
Michael Pettit
  •  Andrew Pettit, of Izaak Walton Street, Stafford, received 12 years years imprisonment;
  • Kevin Marsden, of Poplar Close, Stone, was given 10 years imprisonment;
  • Michael Pettit, of Weston Road, Stafford, received six years imprisonment; and
  • Paul Cooper, of Fancy Walk, Stafford, received three years imprisonment.
Kevin Marsden
Kevin Marsden

The Pettit brothers and Marsden had been found guilty of conspiring to supply a controlled drug – Cocaine – at a hearing on July 20, while Cooper pleaded guilty to the same charge at a hearing in 2014.

Paul Cooper
Paul Cooper

Sentencing the men today, Judge Chambers said it had been “an organised, professional operation sourcing cocaine from Liverpool for distribution in Stafford.”
He classed Andrew Pettit as “the principal organiser/director” of the operation, with Marsden playing “a significant role” and Michael Pettit “a lieutenent to his brother Andrew.”

Senior investigating officer, Detective Supt. Simon Duffy, said: “These convictions bring about a successful conclusion to a determined, proactive, operation targeting an organised crime group that was responsible for trafficking cocaine throughout mid and north Staffordshire.

“Cocaine brings problems to our town centre nightlife and ultimately misery to many users and their families. Staffordshire Police remain committed, through Operation Nemesis, to bring to justice those responsible for dealing these drugs.

“We worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to bring these men to justice and are pleased to see a positive outcome. We hope it sends out a strong message to anyone considering taking a similar path that drug dealers will be prosecuted.”


At a three-week trial in July, the prosecution said that police surveillance began in April 2013. Michael Pettit co-ordinated a meeting between Marsden and Cooper and officers were following Marsden’s car when it stopped in Greyfriars and Cooper got out.

Cooper was arrested as he walked away, dropping a package and a mobile phone. Marsden’s fingerprints were on the package which contained an ounce of high purity cocaine with a potential street value of £7,360.

Although Cooper was arrested, Marsden was left free to enable officers to observe his activities.

His BMW car was later observed outside the Water Mill public house, Mill Street, Stafford and Marsden seen receiving a roll of money.

Marsden then visited Andrew Pettit’s home in Stafford and a phone call was made at that time to a number in Liverpool setting up the collection of the cocaine.

Marsden was seen leaving the house with a carrier bag and was followed driving his BMW to Liverpool. He was stopped driving south on the M6 shortly after 10pm on May 23, 2013 with a bag containing a kilo of high-purity cocaine in the boot. The drugs had an estimated street value of £272,000.

The following day searches of Marsden’s workplace recovered a further quarter of a kilo of cocaine with a potential street value of £62,520.


NEWS: Man charged with supply of class A drugs after his arrest in Cannock

At around 4.20pm on Wednesday 27 May officers on routine patrol stopped a vehicle in Crab Lane. Following a search of the vehicle they found a quantity of class A drugs and cash.

The driver was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs and he remained on bail while an investigation was carried out.


Mohammed Shadique, 25, from the Perry Common area of Birmingham was charged with possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin this morning, Thursday 17 September. He was released on bail to appear before magistrates at Cannock on Wednesday 21 October.

Anyone who suspects drug misuse is encouraged to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or via their online report form at http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org details cannot be traced and you will not go to court.

Men jailed following the biggest single drugs seizure by Staffordshire Police

Two men have been jailed for over 10 years for bringing Class A drugs valued at almost £7m into Staffordshire.

Dave Van de Ven and Barry Briggs were sentenced at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court today, Friday.

Dave Van de Ven Jailed
Dave Van de Ven -Jailed

Van de Ven, aged 30, from Rotterdam, was jailed for six years and eight months. He had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of being concerned in the importation of heroin and cocaine.

Barry Briggs – Jailed

Briggs, aged 43, from Seaforth Grove in Leeds, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the importation of heroin ahead of a trial starting. He was sentenced to five years.

The men were arrested on Wednesday 11 February when officers stopped two vehicles on the A52 in Cheadle.

drugs3 A search of the two vehicles, a HGV being driven by Van de Ven and a Renault van being driven by Briggs, led to the discovery of Class A drugs valued at almost £7m.

Staffordshire Police, together with the National Crime Agency, carried out a joint investigation after receiving information about the two men and their suspected involvement in drug supply.

The arrests were carried out under Operation Nemesis – the force’s commitment to tackling drug dealers and bringing them to justice.

The court heard Van de Ven, who was employed by a transport company in Holland, collected his trailer on February 10 with deliveries scheduled for several locations in England.

He arrived in England the following day, Wednesday 11 February, via ferry and continued his journey, not stopping until he reached a lay-by on the A50, in north Staffordshire.

Van de Ven was later observed at in Leek Road, Cheadle, where he met up with Briggs, who was driving a Renault Clio van and both were witnessed removing boxes from the rear of the lorry into the Renault Clio.

Both men were arrested a short time later.

drugs2A search of the van led to the recovery of the two boxes. Each box contained 15 individual packages of heroin, weighing around 1kg each. The drugs have since been valued at £5,750,000. (5 and ¾ million)

drugs seized by Staffordshire PoliceVan de Ven’s trailer was also searched. A box was recovered which contained 10 parcels of cocaine, each weighing 1kg each. These drugs are valued at £1.2million.

DI Lesley Fowler, who oversaw the investigation, said: “This was a significant seizure of class A drugs – the biggest Staffordshire Police has ever seized in one operation.

“Working closely with our colleagues at the National Crime Agency, we were able to stop a substantial amount of drugs entering the streets of Staffordshire.

“Today’s sentences are to be welcomed and send out a strong message – we will not tolerate drug dealing in our communities and will take positive action against those who do.

“On this occasion we had information which subsequently led to the arrest of both Van de Ven and Briggs.

“These men were clearly working together to bring drugs in to England for onward distribution.

“Their partnership was uncovered and we have stopped drugs getting onto our streets.

“Today marks yet another success under Operation Nemesis and further demonstrates that drug dealing and drugs misuse will not be tolerated in Staffordshire.”

NCA Car1 smlBrent Lyon from the National Crime Agency said: “This was a substantial amount of heroin – the largest seizure of Class A drugs ever made in the area.

“Van de Ven and Briggs clearly thought they were operating under the radar with this handover. But there are no hiding places, no safe locations, for those who try to bring drugs into our communities.

“Operations like this one are successful because of the close working relationship the NCA has with forces like Staffordshire.”