A gang of five drug dealers bombed cars and smashed the windows of houses owned by people who owed them money.
The four men and a teenager set fire to vehicles and smashed shop and restaurant windows in a six-week terror campaign.
Charlie Banks, 24, Haydyn Russell, 18, James McKenna and Bradley Froud, both 19, and a 17-year-old boy carried out the killing spree in three East Sussex seaside towns.
The gang, which sold cocaine, cannabis, ketamine and MDMA, was convicted by Lewes Crown Court this week.
The four men were sentenced to a total of more than 21 years in prison, while the boy was banned from East Sussex for three years.
Five gang members bombed cars and destroyed homes to intimidate them
One of the group was caught with videos of the burning cars on his cellphone and photos of the restaurant windows shattered and the lighter fluid used to start the fires.
The campaign began on June 3 last year when the windows of a Hastings restaurant were smashed in the early hours of the morning.
On June 27, smoke grenades were fired at a shop and shelves were smashed in neighboring St Leonards.
A little over a week later, a car parked outside a house in Rye, 15 miles away, was set on fire.
According to police, the quick-thinking owner managed to move the car away from the building to stop the fire from spreading.
Four days later, a van parked at the same address was also intentionally set on fire by the gang.
The next day, another car parked outside another house in Rye was set on fire and a window of the building was shattered.
Then, two days later, another car was set on fire outside a house in nearby Peasmarsh, police said.
Investigators found that all of these attacks were a way the gang used to scare people who appeared to have failed to pay their drug debts.
PC Ciaran Gaymer, of Sussex Police’s Hastings Community Investigations Team, said: “These men have caused significant damage to our area, both through the supply and distribution of harmful drugs and their subsequent acts of violence.”
“The impact on the victims was enormous – not only financially to repair the physical damage done, but also emotionally.”
“They lived in fear for themselves and their families and didn’t feel safe at home or at work.”
Ringleader Banks had contacted the victims before the attacks, demanding money or trying to sell them drugs, police said.
Froud was arrested after being stopped by police while driving through St Leonards and failing a roadside drug stop for cocaine and cannabis.
When police searched his car, they found bottles of white spirit and lighter fluid, as well as videos of vehicles being set on fire and windows smashed. This included footage of the attack on the St Leonards store.
Messages between him and McKenna regarding the drug supply were also visible on Froud’s phone.
Then last August, McKenna’s home was searched and found a large quantity of Class A, B and C drugs, including 19 grams of methamphetamine and 30.2 grams of cocaine.
Also on his phone were messages about cocaine, cannabis, LSD, MDMA and ketamine and showed McKenna recruiting others to pay damages in cash.
Russell’s DNA was found on a hammer left in the Hastings restaurant vandalism, while forensic investigation into the smoke grenades used to attack the St Leonards shop linked the 17-year-old suspect to the crime scene.
The 17-year-old boy was also found with a photograph linked to the Rye car fire and he admitted being driven to the scene.
This getaway car belonged to Froud and his vehicle was also found near the van and car arson in Rye.
Police had already caught Banks with cannabis and cash when officers searched his home in November 2019, and he was under investigation when the arson began.
Messages about cocaine and cannabis shipments were found on Banks’ mobile phone, Sussex Police said.
About a year later, Rye police stopped a vehicle in which Banks was in the passenger seat and found it laced with coke.
Another phone found on him carried messages about cocaine in quantities of up to 500 grams at a time, as well as cannabis.
PC Gaymer said: “Charlie Banks was found to play a leading role in this criminal activity, targeting people he believed owed him a debt, using violence and the threat of violence to incite terror.” to create.”
“The other defendants willingly participated in carrying out these threats and continued to provide drugs to the population.”
“The investigation has been long and complex, but to see these men behind bars and a serious organized crime gang dismantled is a great relief for the victims, for us and for the wider community.”
Banks, of Rye, was sentenced to eight years and six months in prison after admitting in a previous hearing to conspiracy to cause arson by negligence on endangering his life, conspiracy to supply cannabis and Class A and B drugs, and trafficking in cocaine.
McKenna, from Bexhill, East Sussex, was sentenced to five years and two months in prison.
He confessed to conspiracy to commit property damage, conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of cannabis, and possession of criminal property.
Froud, from St Leonards, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment by the judge.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit arson with negligent endangerment of life, conspiracy to commit property damage, conspiracy to supply Class A and C drugs, supply Class B drugs, and conspiracy to commit burglary.
Russell, of St Leonards, has been sentenced to three years and six months in prison after admitting to conspiring to commit arson that recklessly endangered lives.
He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit property damage, conspiracy to supply Class A, B and C drugs, and possession of cannabis.
The 17-year-old Buckinghamshire boy, whose name cannot be released under the court order, escaped jail after admitting to conspiracy to cause reckless arson, conspiracy to commit property damage and possession of cannabis.
He was handed a 36-month juvenile rehabilitation order, which included 160 hours of unpaid work, a six-month curfew and a 36-month travel ban to East Sussex.
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