The ringleader of an organised crime group who supplied cocaine worth £21 million to dealers in London and Berkshire has been jailed for 20 years.

Patrick Ince, 57, from Dartford, was using encrypted messaging platform EncroChat to oversee the enterprise.

Ince and his group sourced and distributed more than 150 kilogrammes of cocaine and handled approximately £4.5 million in associated cash.

They supplied smaller quantities of ketamine throughout south east England.

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Five members have already been jailed for a total of 68 years, which can now be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted.

All but one of the men was found to have used EncroChat devices to aid their criminality.

They were Mark Eldridge, 53, from West Wickham, and employed couriers Anthony Smith, 77, from Greenhithe, and Michael Kelleher of Plumstead.

They supplied drugs to Berkshire-based dealers William James, 35, from Crowthorne, and Richard Wilmot, 42, of Ascot.

Nathan Matheson, 35, from Bracknell, was also identified as a "trusted" courier and store person for James.

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Smith was ordered by Ince and Eldridge through EncroChat to deliver £2 million worth of cocaine and £127,000 in cash to other criminals across London, Essex, Birmingham, Cornwall, and Glasgow.

Officers say he was known on Ince’s contacts list as Stan Hill, which is believed to refer to the two having met at HMP Standford Hill in 2013, while being detained for drug supply offences.

James and Wilmot supplied £3.5 million worth of cocaine in London and Berkshire.

They also supplied 15 kilos of ketamine worth a potential £600,000 to dealers.

The pair also laundered over £1 million in cash linked to the supply of those drugs.

The men were then arrested at their home addresses on April 21 last year - except for Ince who went on the run.

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Smith was already in prison on remand for other offences.

Ince was then arrested on October 28, after being found in Plumstead.

The men were later charged with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs and acquire criminal property.

Wilmot and James pleaded guilty at Kingston Crown Court on May 24.

Eldridge also pleaded guilty on September 17 and Ince on February 28, 2022.

Matheson and Smith were convicted on December 10 following a three-week trial at the same court.

On 25 January this year Eldridge, Wilmot, James, Smith and Matheson were sentenced to a total of 68 years in prison.

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Ince was jailed for 20 years today starting from today (April 7).

Andrew Tickner, from the Organised Crime Partnership, said: “Patrick Ince, along with his right-hand man Mark Eldridge, arranged the movement of cocaine worth tens of millions of pounds.

“The tentacles of their gang stretched across the UK, enabling drugs to seep into communities where they would drive high levels of violence and intimidation.

“Our investigation tore this organised crime group apart and in doing so removed a significant wholesale supplier for dealers across the country.”

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