A THURROCK drug gang including a one-time West Ham prodigy face decades in jail after police exposed their £300,000 cocaine dealing operation.
Tilbury-based Tony Macklin, 42, was a teenage prodigy with brilliant ball skills and had been tipped for international stardom.
But he was let down by his ‘disastrous attitude’ and turned to crime with brother Barry, 39.
The Macklin brothers, together with Lisa Moules, 42, Grant Carpenter, 28, Lee Stone, 32 and Felicity Jarvis, 34, were arrested after police watched them passing kilos of the drugs on to other dealers from their Grays base.
Prosecutor Tim Hunter said: ‘In total seven kilos of cocaine were seized, with a total value estimated to be at £300,000.’
The dealers were watched storing cocaine at an address in Springfield Road, Grays and passing on half-kilo quantities of around 75% purity to other dealers for wider distribution.
Police swooped on July 16 last year after observing the gang for nearly two months.
They saw Moules attend the Springfield Road property, before leaving with a carrier bag and moving on to another address.
‘Lisa Moules was arrested in the company of Barry Macklin at the Springfield Road address, where four kilos of cocaine of 75% purity were seized,’ Mr Hunter continued.
‘That address was used as a safe house to store significant quantities of cocaine for onward distribution.’
Tony Macklin was arrested on the same day, while Jarvis was arrested at her home address where two kilos of cocaine were seized.
Stone was described as the ‘link in the distribution chain’ and was seen passing half kilos of the drug to dealers including Carpenter.
Carpenter was seen meeting Stone near a railway station on June 26 last year, where he was later arrested with one of the half kilos.
He was on bail from Sheffield Crown Court at the time of the offence, for being a driver in a group described as ‘The Cockneys.’
Natalie Sherborn, defending Macklin said: ‘He was involved in professional football from the age of seven, and played for West Ham United until he was 19.
‘After that, he played for a number of semi-professional teams before being forced to retire through injury at the age of 32.’
Stephen Cooke, defending Jarvis, said she had worked with children with learning difficulties for several years.
Barry Macklin was told he will be given at least 14 years for his role as head of the gang.
Stone of Southend Road, Stanford Le Hope; Barry Macklin and Lisa Moules both of Princess Margaret Road, East Tilbury,; Tony Macklin of Dickens Avenue, Tilbury; Carpenter of Nelson Gardens, Bethnal Green and Jarvis, of Brennan Road, Tilbury, Essex, all admit one count of conspiracy to supply cocaine.
Carpenter admits an additional two counts of supplying diamorphine and cocaine.
The hearing continues.