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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Gary Hardy ran gang alongside convicted dealer John Dawes until he was jailed in 2005, earned millions of pounds

08:30 |

Gary Hardy has been convicted of pumping millions of pounds worth of class A drugs into Ashfield after masterminding one of the county's biggest ever narcotics empires. He controlled the Ashfield drugs scene through fear and violence and swamped the district with huge quantities of heroin and amphetamines between 2000 and 2007. The Mansfield businessman, who ran the criminal gang alongside convicted dealer John Dawes until he was jailed in 2005, earned millions of pounds from his underworld activities to finance a lavish lifestyle. Hardy consistently denied the charges during a two-month trial at Nottingham Crown Court and claimed his millionaire lifestyle had been funded through the profits of his extensive property and luxury car rental business. But a 12-man jury, which took more than three days to deliver its verdicts, declined to believe Hardy's lies and found him guilty of supplying heroin and amphetamines, of money laundering, of having £14,000-worth of cash gained through criminal activities and possessing criminal cash. But Hardy, who is expected to receive a lengthy prison sentence, was cleared of conspiracy to supply cocaine and four counts of conspiracy to supply cannabis. Fellow gang member and brother Paul Hardy is also facing jail after he was convicted for his part in flooding Ashfield and north Nottinghamshire with heroin and amphetamines. Paul Hardy, a crack cocaine addict, was also convicted of two charges of supplying cannabis resin and possessing criminal cash – but was cleared of a further count of supplying amphetamines and two charges of supplying cannabis. His former girlfriend Zoe Chapman, who has had five of his children, was found guilty of supplying amphetamines to a drug dealer lower down the chain between after Paul Hardy decided to lay low following interest from police. The brothers' mother June Muers, who had no previous convictions, was convicted of supplying amphetamines and cannabis resin, which she kept in a garden shed at her former Pearl Avenue home, and possessing thousands of pounds in drugs money. But Clipstone man Carl Busby, who had been accused of laundering hundreds of thousands of pounds of drugs money on behalf of Gary Hardy between May 2003 and December 2006, was cleared of all charges. The gang members are expected to be sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court some time in September.

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