A Bedford drug dealer has been sentenced to seven years behind bars after officers caught him during an operation which has secured more than 30 years in jail terms for people involved in organised criminal gangs.

Liam Jackson, 30, of Ellis Green, Marston Moretaine, was sentenced on Tuesday (19 January) after he was found guilty of offering to supply Class A drugs. This was the third time Jackson has been convicted of drugs supply offences.

He was identified in CCTV images from May 2019 which appeared to show him involved in drug dealing. When questioned by officers, he tried to claim it was his birthday and he was out to purchase drugs instead of sell them.

However, upon investigating, Jackson was linked to a phone which was identified as being used in the “Solo line”, a branded line offering drugs through a dedicated mobile phone line.

This sentence is the latest success under Operation Alden, a major investigation by Bedfordshire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) combatting organised crime.

This is the latest sentencing which has taken place as part of this operation, with further sentences expected later this year.

Fifteen people have now been sentenced as part of this operation for their drug dealing activities. Detectives have also secured drug dealing telecommunication restriction orders (DDTROs) on seven phone lines.

These phone lines have subsequently been shut down amid concerns they were being used to sell drugs across Bedford.

Detective Inspector James Panter, from SOCU, said:

“We are determined to make Bedfordshire a hostile environment for anyone attempting to deal drugs in our county.

“Through this enforcement action we have been able to dismantle a major drugs supply lines into Bedford, and this operation has now secured over 30 years of custodial sentences.

“These drugs gangs are often involved in the exploitation of children and vulnerable adults, modern slavery and violence.

“To end this exploitation, it is vital that we continue to arrest those involved in drugs supply and put them behind bars.

“Drugs blight our communities and we will continue to pursue those responsible. If you have any information or concerns in your area, please report it and help us crack down on organised crime.”

If you have information about drugs activity taking place please report it to 101 or via Bedfordshire Police’s online reporting centre.

All of these reports are fed into police intelligence systems and can help officers build up a better picture of organised crime.

You can also report information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

For more information or support about getting out of a gang, please visit bedsveru.org.