TWO drug dealers have been jailed for being ‘downstream customers’ of a cocaine kingpin who was running a large-scale drug operation across Oxfordshire.

Mark Hickford, 52, and Liam Field, 26, were found guilty last week (Friday, February 2) of a conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The pair were ‘downstream customers’ of brothers Richard and Patrick Gray who were jailed in the summer of 2022 after being found guilty of supplying large quantities of cocaine Oxfordshire.

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They were caught after police swooped in on the gang in May, raiding properties in Oxford, WitneyBanbury, and Milton Keynes, seizing 2.5kg of high-purity cocaine and around £110,000 in cash.

Ringleader Richard Gray, then 33, was jailed for 21 years while his older brother, then 44, received 18 years.

Hickman, of Hartford Road, in Edmonton, was found guilty of two counts and Field, of Swindon, was found guilty of one count.

Writing a letter to Judge Michael Gledhill at his sentencing on Friday (February 9), Hickman said he was a drug addict and is trying to better himself.

He said: “I’ve been in a dark place for so long I’ve forgotten what the light looks like. It’s a battle with demons I can’t see.

“But this last year I’ve changed. I’ve gained self-respect from a lot of people around me. I’m just someone who is trying to back to life, I’m only just beginning to learn how to smile again.”

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Defending Field, his barrister said it was a ‘mindless, idiotic, and shortlived’ decision to get involved with drug dealing.

It was heard that he was not in ‘frequent’ contact with the Gray brothers and the communication was ‘minimal’.

Sentencing Hickman to six years in jail, Judge Gledhill said: “I spend day after day in this court dealing with junkies and addicts taking drugs and ruining their lives.

“I hardly need to lecture you about the consequences of drug use. I look at the public gallery, the people here to support you and they are people who have suffered years and years from your drug addiction – my heart goes out to them.”

Sentencing Field to seven years in jail, Judge Gledhill said: “Why were you doing it? To make money. Just sheer greed. I take the view you were playing a significant role.”

Richard Gray’s former partner, Melissa Grant, was also on trial charged with possession of criminal property, namely £44,315 in cash.

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The court she did not take an ‘active part’ in the operation but she was aware of it.

However, the 33-year-old, of Barley Court, Witney, pleaded guilty a week after the trial started on January 23.

She will be sentenced at a later date.