Crime gang duo are sent to prison
A BARBER shop owner is serving ten years behind bars for using his business as the headquarters for a multimillion-pound drug trafficking and property fraud empire.
Billy Sales, 32, from Whyteleafe, along with James Arthur, 34, from Kenley, used Sharp Barbers in Godstone Road, Whyteleafe, as a "front" while they dealt cocaine across Surrey, Croydon and Sussex.
The pair are now serving a combined 25 years behind bars. Until now, legal restrictions prevented the media from reporting how they both reaped millions of pounds by recruiting gang members, flooding the South East with cocaine and stealing homes from elderly and vulnerable people.
Arthur and Sales masterminded the criminal network of 11 members.
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A Met police officer who worked undercover on the case told the Advertiser: "It was Sales who owned the barbers. They were using it as a front to meet there pretty much every day. They didn't deal the drugs out of there but were using it to organise the whole thing. They were importing it from all over – one package was from Argentina – and then driving it around everywhere via the M23 corridor and even down as far as Brighton.
"They were highly organised, not only dealing the drugs, but the fraud side made it even more organised.
"They didn't care about anybody, not just with the drugs, but they were taking people's houses away from them. It was all just greed, greed, greed."
The officer explained how a special unit followed the pair for eight months, bugging their car to record drug deals and seizing a large quantity of cocaine, which the package address showed came from Argentina, South America.
Profits were used to fund an extravagant lifestyle, booking lavish holidays and driving around in limousines. "They were living the high life," the officer added.
Terry Francis, 28, of Western Drive, Caterham, was recruited to distribute the drugs across the South East and was exploited by Sales and Arthur for his highly organised ex-military background, having fought in Afghanistan.
Sales was sentenced to ten years and Arthur to 15 years at Southwark Crown Court in July 2011 – both for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Meanwhile, Francis was given three years. Sales and Arthur will be sentenced later this summer for the property fraud.
The Mirror called Sharp Barbers and was told Sales still owns the shop in Whyteleafe. However, a member of staff refused to comment further.