A police officer leading a drugs rings crackdown in North Herts has said anyone involved in drugs will be caught after five more people from Hitchin were sentenced yesterday.

The convicted criminals – four of which have avoided jail – were all connected to Hitchin drug dealer Christopher ‘Mouse’ Collins, 29, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison last month after pleading guilty to supplying cocaine and cannabis in the area.

Among those in the dock at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday was Jason Harper Stott, of Bradley’s Corner in the town, who was charged with conspiracy to supply cannabis.

The 26-year-old was jailed for six months, which also includes a breach of bail.

Jahed Islam, 18, of North Place, was given a two-year suspended sentence at a young offender institute for conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis.

He was also handed a supervision order for two years and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

Gavin Stevens, of Truemans Road, received a 15-month term for conspiracy to supply cannabis, suspended for two years.

The 27-year-old was also ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and has been electronically tagged while he carries out a three-month curfew between 7.30pm and 7.30am.

Hollie Moss – who lives in the same road, Coopers Yard, as Collins – was handed a 12-month suspended sentence for possession of criminal property.

The 26-year-old has also been given a three-month curfew between the hours of 7.30pm and 7.30am.

Peldeep Uppal, of Gainsford Crescent, was sentenced to a nine-month jail term – suspended for 18 months – for conspiracy to supply cannabis.

The 25-year-old was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Two further men – Alan Shepherd, 29, of Hyde Avenue in Stotfold and Liam Galvin, 26, of Enysford Road in Hitchin – will be sentenced at a later date for drugs offences.

As well as ring leader Collins, five other men from Hitchin, Letchworth and Stevenage have already been jailed for a total of 29 years for drug-related offences as part of Operation Palatine.

The investigation – largely related to activity between October 2013 and February 2014 – has also seen a number of warrants across North Herts, Stevenage and Luton.

Det Insp Ian Butler, who has been leading the operation, said: “Those sentenced yesterday and in April showed no remorse for the illegal activities they have been involved in – which was to them about their own monetary gain. They have not thought of the vulnerable members of society who were buying these drugs for them, nor have they thought about how their actions reaped misery on their families.

“Our operation has been a huge success and has led to the disruption of a significant drug ring. The sentences passed on this second group of people who worked and colluded with Christopher Collins again highlights how seriously the courts take such activity and sends out a strong message to those thinking of, or who are already involved in similar drugs activity in Hertfordshire – we will find you and you will be brought before the courts.

“A life of crime does not pay and the law will catch up with you eventually.”

Chief Insp for North Herts, Julie Wheatley, added: “North Herts is a safe place to live and visit however, we have a small minority of people who are involved in crime and it is right we protect law abiding citizens from the blight of these offenders.

“Drugs have no place in our society and we will do everything in our power to disrupt and arrest offenders. The community truly are our eyes and ears when it comes to crimes such as these and I would like residents to feel empowered to be able to report any suspicions they may have.

“People involved in such crimes can be intimidating, but they have no place in our society and together we can ensure our communities are even safer by working together to put them in prison.”