Newport bank holiday drugs bust gangs sentenced

Newport bank holiday drugs bust gangs sentenced

SCENE: Police on Bank Street in Newport

Carmelo Attard

David Hopkins

Steven Baker

Daniel John Short

First published in News

A BOTCHED drug deal led to a high-speed car chase into Newport which resulted in one man being stabbed in the street, a court heard.

Steven Baker, 20, of Coity Terrace, Blaenavon, Ethan Brown, 21 of Pen y Lan, Cardiff, Michael Attard, 27 of Abergele Road, Rumney, Carmelo Attard, 28, of Crumlin Drive St Mellons, Daniel Short, 27, of Edmond Road, and David Hopkins, 28, of Roundmoor Gardens, both Bristol, all pleaded guilty to possession of a class B drug with intent to supply.

Hopkins and Brown also admitted dangerous driving and all pleaded guilty to violent disorder, except for Michael Attard and Brown who were not charged with this offence.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that on August 26 last year, Short and Hopkins drove to the Magor services on the M4 with half a kilogram of Cannabis, said to be worth £3,000, to meet the four from South Wales in a white Audi to sell the drugs.

Baker snatched the drugs and ran back to his vehicle. Prosecutor Nicholas Gareth Jones said: “The South Wales boys took possession of the drugs and started to drive away.”

The Welsh men sped down the M4 toward Newport being chased by the two drug dealers at speeds reaching an estimated 100mph.

The court heard the two cars were bumper to bumper as they left the motorway at junction 25 and entered Bank Street where the Bristol men blocked them off, forcing the Welsh men out of the cars.

A fight broke out and Carmelo Attard was stabbed and ran into the path of a van which knocked him to the floor.

The white Audi was abandoned at the scene while Hopkins and Short got back in their vehicle and drove off toward Bristol. They were followed by police who stopped them and arrested the pair.

Brown and Michael Attard were found hiding in nearby woodland. Baker was still in Bank Street Carmelo Attard when police arrived.

A BB gun, later recovered in Bank Street , Newport, had Hopkins’ blood on it, which Hopkins said was from being hit in the face with it at Magor.

In his basis of plea, Hopkins said he had expected a “straight forward cannabis exchange”. In Short’s basis of plea he said: “They didn’t come to buy cannabis, but instead to steal it.”

In mitigation for both Short and Hopkins, the court heard how the chase and violence was purely a result of the action by the Welsh men.

Hugh Bowden, for Baker, said there was no great forethought or suggestion of any plan with regard to the distribution of the cannabis.

Defending Michael Attard, Peter Harding-Roberts said his client fled from the scene “terrified” and had never been aware the drugs would be stolen.

Matthew Cobbe said Brown was unaware of the plan and played a lesser role.

Defending Carmelo Attard, Jon Lewis said his client had been the only one to suffer serious injuries which lead him to be in a coma for five days.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Powell QC, said: “To describe what happened that day as an affront to public order is an understatement. The events that took place were disgraceful.”

Baker, Hopkins, Short and Carmelo Attard were each sentenced to a total of two years imprisonment.

Michael Attard and Brown were each sentenced to a community order and 200 hours unpaid work.

Hopkins and Brown were disqualified from driving for five years.

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