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Bude man sent down for role in drug plot

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 26, 2011

Blake Donnellan - jailed for 15 years

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A MAN living in Bude who was one of the faces behind a multi-million-pound operation to smuggle cocaine into Cornwall and Devon has been jailed for 15 years.

Blake Donnellan, 28, whose address was given in court as Downs View, Bude, is said to have links with a notorious Manchester gangland family.

He was once banned from entering Devon and Cornwall after being slapped with a "super-Asbo" but moved to live in Bude in September last year when the ban's scope was reduced to the Plymouth area.

Last month Donnellan was jailed for 15 years by Plymouth Crown Court, but a court order prevented his name from being reported until this week.

Last month he was convicted of conspiring to supply drugs along with Neil Hazelwood and Terence Gray and Plymothians Craig Harbar and Steven Armstrong. The five were jailed for a total of 37 years.

The gang was caught when Armstrong's car was stopped on the A38 near Trago Mills at Newton Abbot, heading from Manchester to Plymouth.

Inside was a huge haul of cocaine and other drugs, and nearly £17,000 in cash.

The judge, Recorder Nicolas Gerasimidis, said there were indications that the gang was making fortnightly deliveries from Manchester to Plymouth which over seven months could have totalled 56kg of cocaine, worth £2.8 million.

He sentenced Donnellan, described by the prosecution as "the area manager", to 15 years in prison and the others to terms ranging from two to eight years.

Donnellan soon came to the notice of the police when he arrived in Plymouth in 2003, aged just 18.

Although he was never convicted of drug possession or dealing, he was strongly suspected of having been sent to bring drugs into the city.

In 2006 Donnellan was handed an antisocial behaviour order banning him from entering Devon or Cornwall for ten years.

Lawyer Dylan Sadler, acting for the police and the city council, claimed Donnellan had never worked legitimately and his only business was selling drugs.

Magistrates were convinced after watching a Channel Five documentary about a notorious gangland family in Manchester.

The head of the family was shown with his arm round 14-year-old "Blakey", who had just come to live with him.

The ten-year Asbo was granted and Donnellan, who claimed to have a partner and a brother in Plymouth, was given 12 hours to get out of the South West.

However, in May 2007 he appealed and the Asbo was watered down to ban him from Plymouth, Saltash, Torpoint or the South Hams, and its length reduced to five years.

At the time of his arrest, he was living in Bude.

Donnellan breached his super-Asbo three times, but was given a six-month suspended jail sentence.

When he breached it again, he was given another suspended sentence.

Harbar, aged 26, of Lipson, was sentenced to eight years for his part in the conspiracy.

Armstrong, aged 38, of Devonport, along with Terence Gray, aged 50, of Stockport, were both jailed for six years and four months.

Neil Hazelwood, aged 26, of Manchester, was given a two- year term.

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  • DaveyofCrnwal  |  November 21 2011, 2:29AM

    Some years ago I walked down Gasworks Lane as it was a shortcut to the pub. I was curious to see a light coming from one of the old Post Office Telephones sheds. Inside were three young lads with a candle mounted in a bottle. The candle was being used to heat a "substance" that was in a bent spoon. "Aw you won't tell will you?" they said to which I replied that I didn't care what they did to themselves and for all I knew they might be melting boot polish. Allegedly the bird hide is also a favourite spot for nefarious activities. If one mentions Bude in the Midlands often they will say "Oh yes I know Bude, people pretend to be fishing on the canal and they deal drugs. If the police come they throw the stuff into the water and pretend it was ground bait" Amazing what goes on isn't it but it all seems to have started from about the year 2000.

  • BudePeeps  |  October 26 2011, 10:18AM

    Man, sent down for serious drugs offences, was living in Bude at the time of his arrest.