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Fugitive drug gang leader joins five accomplices behind bars as he is jailed for almost ten years

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The ringleader of a Scarborough drugs gang who tried to evade justice by going on the run has been jailed for nine years, eight months today.

Sonny Elms fled after five members his gang were jailed for a total of almost 20 years.

A warrant was issued for his arrest after he failed to appear at York Crown Court.

It sparked a hunt for the 25-year-old that lasted for six months and spanned several force areas.

Elms (pictured above) was found and arrested in his home city of Manchester last month.

He was remanded in custody and brought to York Crown Court today (25 August 2017) so he could be sentenced for the original offence of conspiracy to supply cocaine and also for failing to surrender.

Elms’ gang was convicted following a major North Yorkshire Police investigation. Detectives uncovered a network of criminals from outside North Yorkshire peddling class-A drugs in Scarborough.

The investigation lasted more than three years and saw North Yorkshire Police work closely with officers in Manchester.

Detectives pieced together a web of evidence, including complicated mobile phone information, to build up a picture of how the organised crime group operated.

Five members of the gang – aged between 19 and 28 and all from the Greater Manchester area – were sentenced at York Crown Court on Wednesday 1 February 2017. Their jail terms ranged from one-and-a-half years to six years, three months.

Four pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, namely cocaine, and one admitted being concerned in their supply. The offences took place in 2013 and 2014.

After Elms was sentenced at York Crown Court today, North Yorkshire Police Detective Sergeant Ryan Chapman, who led the case, said: “Elms seemed to think that he would disappear from our radar if he didn’t attend court. But it doesn’t work like that.

“We’ve worked tirelessly with Greater Manchester Police to track him down and ensure he was brought to justice.

“We owed it to the people of Scarborough, whose communities his offending has tarnished, to take these offenders off the streets. And today’s substantial sentence means we’ve taken Elms, who was the head of this gang, out of circulation for a very long time.

“The length of his sentence also sends a clear message to other gangs who are considering supplying drugs in North Yorkshire.”

A sixth member of the gang, 26-year-old Paul Daniel Heaton, (pictured below) also absconded before sentencing and remains wanted by police.

Heaton is 5ft 11ins tall and is proportionately built. He has blue eyes, short hair and is often unshaven. He speaks with a Manchester accent.

Anyone who has information that could help detectives locate him should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 and select option 1. Any immediate sightings should be reported on 999. Alternatively, you can call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Please quote reference number 12130209531 when passing on information.


Last modified: August 25, 2017