Drugs gang who terrorised Gospel Oak are jailed

Gang members dealing crack and heroine from playgrounds and a community centre in Gospel Oak have been jailed after an undercover police investigation.

“QC gang” operated a widespread Class A drugs racket – in plain sight of children and near churches – that blighted the community, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

The prosecution said the gang operated as a “closely interwoven gang of drug dealers” involving look-outs, runners, ‘muscle’ and dealers and was also capable of larger drug deals worth hundreds of pounds.

Thirteen men were sentenced on 62 counts of drug-related and robbery offences on Thursday and Friday.

Most were also banned from parts of Camden with a history of drug dealing, including Queen’s Crescent and Camden Lock.

During sentencing Judge John Hillen said: “These gangs, such as the QC, as opposed to the professional gangs, consist of people who are individually sad and pathetic and only find meaning in their life by this.”

He added: “They are a cause of great concern to the public because of the impact they have on the community.”

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The drugs market had struck fear into the heart of the community, with needles, crack pipes, blood-stained tissues and other equipment for drug use littering the community’s open spaces, said PC Rhos Cox of the anti-social behaviour unit.

He said Denton Estate in Malden Road, known locally as the “Shooting Gallery”, had also suffered symptoms of the drugs trade.

He told the court: “The blocks are covered in urine, people defecate on them on numerous occasions. The lifts have had to be shut down because it’s not safe to use them.”

Police uncovered the illicit drugs market after officers, posing as users, covertly gathered evidence on the drug ring from March to July last year.

The court heard evidence of how undercover officers were given different telephone numbers and locations to buy crack and heroin from Gilden Crescent basketball and football pitches, Talacre Park, and outside St Silas Church in Chalk Farm.

Runners, normally riding bikes, would deliver wraps of drugs weighing between 0.15-0.3g, which varied in purity between 10 and 65 per cent, to undercover police.

The largest deal struck – worth �420 – saw four gang members supply 6.62g of crack and 6.83g of heroin to an officer in Talacre Park.

Jake McVicar, 22, of Southampton Row, Holborn, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of supplying class A drugs and was jailed for four years on January 26.

James Legg, 18, of Maitland Park Villas, Belsize Park, pleaded guilty to six charges of supplying class A drugs and received a 12 month suspended prison sentence.

The other members lived outside Camden.