A WHITCHURCH man has been given a two-year suspended sentence for his role in a county lines drug dealine operation.

Paul Watton, 34, who lives at The Old Barns, in Waymills, was convicted of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, and was issued with a two year suspended sentence.

He was one of five men and one woman to have been jailed on Tuesday.

In January 2016, officers from West Mercia Police's Serious and Organised Crime Unit launched an investigation into the supply of heroin and crack cocaine in Shrewsbury and Whitchurch.

The investigation found an organised crime group (OCG) were running a county lines drug dealing operation from Liverpool into Shropshire on a daily basis.

Officers identified the supply of drugs into the county was co-ordinated from a mobile phone which was based in Merseyside.

The number was given to customers in Shropshire to ring to order their drugs with members of the group travelling between Merseyside and Shropshire on a regular basis to deal drugs to local users.

They also recruited local drug dealers to assist in providing them with local knowledge, transport and a base to operate from.

Police believe they made in excess of £500,000 from their activity.

The group were sentenced to more than 34 years' imprisonment at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

The investigation was led by senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector, Gavin Kinrade.

He said: "This gang who preyed on vulnerable members of our community addicted to illicit drugs. They showed no regard for these very vulnerable individuals or to the misery and devastation heroin and crack cocaine cause to individuals, their families or our community.

"They were motivated solely by greed.

"This was a complex and time consuming investigation and these offenders have been brought to justice by a professional and dedicated team of detectives who continue to fight organised crime in West Mercia.

"It acts as a warning to other county lines gangs of what they can expect if they commit crime in West Mercia."