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Crime

Crawley men jailed for supplying class A drugs in town

Six men have been sent to prison for a total of almost 30 years for their part in the supply of class A drugs in Crawley.

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Detectives from the West Sussex Community Investigation Team started investigating these men supplying class of class A drugs in Crawley in November 2016.

The group were caught after officers spotted two people, Syed Hussain and Sarder Bashir, going back and forth to a taxi parked in Horsham Road, Crawley on November 24, 2016. Officers were suspicious about the account the pair provided and they were both arrested.

Officers were able to link this taxi to drug offences and further enquiries over the following months led detectives to identify others involved in the supply of class A drugs in the Crawley area.

Four other men were subsequently arrested and drugs, cash and stun guns were recovered from their homes.

The six appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, (March 29) for sentencing.

The following four were sentenced after a six week trial:

Francis Gomez, 41, of Yeats Close, London, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (cocaine, crack cocaine) and the supply of both class A and class B drugs from September 2016 until October 2017. Gomez was given a 15-year-prison sentence.

Laeek Ahmed, 27, of Denchers Plat, Crawley, was convicted of four counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (crack cocaine, heroin and cocaine) and one count of possession with intent to supply class A drugs (heroin) between September 2016 and January 2017. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Jamal Sultan, 33, of Redditch Close, Crawley was convicted of possession with intent to supply a class A drug (cocaine) and was handed a four-and-a-half year imprisonment and a victim surcharge of £170.

Sarder Bashir, 37, of Martyrs Avenue, Crawley, was charged with one count of perverting the course of justice from 22 to 25 November, 2016 and was sentenced to four months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, 150 hours of unpaid work and a victim surcharge of £115.

The following two defendants entered earlier guilty pleas:

Robert Smith, 35, of Burwash Road, Crawley was charged with permitting his premises to be used in the supply of class A drugs, possession of a class A drug (cocaine) and possession of criminal property. He was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment suspended for two years, 200 hours of unpaid work and a victim surcharge of £140.

Syed Hussain, 40, of Heron Close, Crawley, was charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply class A drugs (crack cocaine and heroin) and one count of money laundering from 1 to 24 November, 2016. Hussain was given a 32 month sentence and a victim surcharge of £170.

Detective Constable Dave Wadley said:

“This investigation was lengthy but we were determined to bring these men to justice. I hope this serves as a warning to others that we take this criminality extremely seriously and no matter how long the investigation will be, we will continue to strive for justice to be served.”

Detective Inspector Alan Pack of the Community Investigation Team said

“These sentences reflect the hard work my team undertook to secure sustained disruption to the illegal supply of drugs and only now, following the trial and sentencing, can we publicise this. These investigations are largely unseen until we reach these successful conclusions and I hope our communities take reassurance from this example of our continued work.”

Anyone who does have concerns for drug use, can report incidents online.

Crime

Teenager found guilty of murdering Arnold Potter named

A teenager who stabbed and killed a man in Maidenbower, Crawley has been found guilty of murder.

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Kai Gasson, 17, unemployed, from Crawley, admitted using a lock knife to wound the torso of Arnold Potter; however, he claimed he did so in self-defence.

Reporting restrictions were lifted to allow him to be named.

The 24-year-old victim sought help from a number of residents following the incident in Watson Close, Maidenbower, around 6.40pm on Thursday, November 15.

Shortly afterwards, he was found collapsed in the street. Despite the best efforts of paramedics and members of the public who commenced CPR, he was sadly declared dead at 7.17pm.

Gasson had chased Arnold (pictured above) up the street following the attack, but then made off from the scene and spent the night at a friend’s house, where he confessed to his crime and was encouraged to hand himself in to police the next day.

Man is stabbed to death in Maidenbower.

He was charged with murder and was remanded in custody ahead of a two-week trial which concluded at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday, April 18 where a jury found him guilty of murder.

It is alleged that in the events leading up to the attack, the defendant had been approached in the street by Arnold, who is reported to have held a knife to his throat and threatened to rob him of his drugs.

In response to this, Gasson withdrew a knife from his bag and used it to stab Arnold.

Following a search of his house, the defendant was further arrested and charged with possession of an offensive weapon (a knife). The jury also found him guilty of this offence as well as possession with intent to supply a class A drug (cocaine).

Photo: A replica of the knife used by Gasson

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Richardson, who led the investigation, said: “Kai Gasson has been found guilty of the murder of Arnold Potter and rightly so now faces a minimum of 15 years behind bars.

“The jury has rejected his claim that he acted in self-defence and agreed with the prosecution that he murdered Arnold Potter.

“Gasson was also been found guilty of possession of a knife and pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine.

“Knife crime hasn’t just affected the two individuals involved; it has also affected their families, friends and the wider community and my thoughts our especially with Arnold’s family at this time.

“The key element to this tragic incident is the possession of a knife in a public place, which is an extremely serious offence.

“Had Gasson not been in possession of a knife that day, he would not have stabbed anyone and he would not now be facing a sentence.

“The devastation caused by knife crime is well documented, and Sussex Police – like every other force in the UK – will not tolerate it.

“We must continue to educate people – particularly young people – that carrying offensive weapons in public is a serious offence which ruins lives. It is a common misconception that some people feel safer in possession with a knife. This cannot be further from the truth; carrying a knife makes you far more likely to be involved in a crime, whether you are the victim or the offender.

“Our message is simple: lose the knife, not your life.”

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