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Two men caught operating ‘industrial scale' meth lab have jail sentences extended

Andrew Gurney and Keith Davies were arrested after the National Crime Agency raided what it described as ‘one of the largest amphetamine factories ever found in the UK’

Keith Davis and Andrew Gurney

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

Two men who were busted producing amphetamines worth £10 million-a-month have had their “unduly lenient” jail sentences extended.

Andrew Gurney (51) from Birmingham, and Keith Davies (56) from Buckinghamshire, were jailed in June for their involvement in an 'industrial scale” lab that manufactured tons of the class B drug.

They were both arrested after the National Crime Agency (NCA) raided what it described as “one of the largest amphetamine factories ever found in the UK”.

Investigators who had infiltrated the encrypted messaging platform, EncroChat, which has since been shut down, established that the communication service was being used to run a drugs laboratory in Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire.

Following a trial at Kingston Crown Court in London Earlier this year, Gurney, who was dubbed 'The Geek' of the drugs operation by the NCA due to his expertise, was jailed for six years and three months.

Davis received a total sentence of five years and three months.

However, both men's prison sentences were increased to an overall sentence of 10 years after they were referred to the Court of Appeal by the Attorney General's office under the unduly lenient sentence scheme.

During a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, senior judges said that the original sentences were “not only lenient but unduly so”.

According to a written reference from the Attorney General's office, Gurney and Davis conspired with others in the construction and operation of the rural lab “to manufacture amphetamine on an industrial scale”.

The Warwickshire site was capable of producing 136kg of amphetamine sulphate a week.

According to the NCA, the lab was capable of producing 400 kilos of amphetamine per month - worth £2 million at wholesale and up to £10 million at street level.

The drugs were then distributed to dealers in the West Midlands, London and Kent.

To get the lab up and running, Gurney and Davis were trained in the chemical process for producing amphetamine sulphate.

During the 12-day trial, David argued he had been vulnerable due to his poor mental health, which led him to be “coerced and exploited” by other conspirators who supplied him with medication they threatened to withhold, the Attorney General's reference said.

Gurney accepted building the lab and working there but denied knowing amphetamine was being manufactured at the site and claimed he was told it was producing “vape oil” for e-cigarettes.

David Wood, who represented Gurney, said he was a “world away from the kind of professional organised drug dealer who chooses to involve themselves in a massive conspiracy like this for profit”.

But a jury found him guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply a Class B drug, one count of conspiracy to produce a Class B drug and a charge of conspiracy to convert, conceal or transfer criminal property.

Victoria Meads, representing Davis, argued that his involvement at the laboratory was limited and that his overall sentence was in keeping with the spirit of the judge's sentencing remarks.

Jonathan Polnay, representing the Attorney General Michael Ellis, challenged how the sentencing judge had calculated the jail terms.

Lady Justice Carr, sitting with Mr Justice Griffiths and Mr Justice Hilliard, said both offenders were 'middle-aged family men with no relevant previous convictions' and highlighted that the 'quantities involved in the amphetamine conspiracy were massive'.

She said there had been an “ongoing, large scale operation' that featured 'sophisticated methods to avoid or impede detection”.

Speaking after the hearing, Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson said: “The illegal and dangerous drugs produced and supplied by both Davis and Gurney will have ruined lives, and so I am satisfied with the decision of the court to order both offenders to serve longer prison terms.”

“The new sentences are a better reflection of the seriousness of the crime of drug dealing and supplying at this level.”

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