A FORMER firefighter from Ponteland is among a gang of drug dealers jailed for a total of more than 50 years for targeting bars in Newcastle City Centre.

Kevin Laws (25) of Rosewood Drive, Ponteland, was one of 12 men jailed on Monday as part of Operation Doncaster.

Earlier this year, seven men and one woman were jailed for offences linked to the supply of Class A drugs including cocaine and MDMA.

Laws appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to one count of supplying a Class A drug, and was jailed for two years and three months.

Laws was one of 20 drug dealers arrested in an undercover sting operation in Newcastle’s bars and nightclubs, launched in 2017.

The operation began after police became aware drug dealers were being afforded “celebrity status” in bars and nightclubs.

Drug dealers were granted free entry to clubs, allowed to skip queues and were given free drinks in VIP areas.

An undercover operation that saw plain-clothed officers buy drugs from bouncers, promoters and bar staff in the city centre was launched.

Other people gave them phone numbers of dealers who would then drive into the city centre to sell drugs.

Officers continued with the operation for a number of months before police executed raids in December, 2017.

Almost 50 people were arrested, a huge haul of drugs, weapons, and cash was seized, and four popular bars were closed down over the busy Christmas period.

The other men jailed were:

l Francis Day (28) of Emily Street, Walker, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A drug, two counts of supplying a Class A drug, two counts of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply and possession of criminal property. He was jailed for four years and four months.

l Stephen Mark Jamieson (23) of Trewhitt Road, Heaton, who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to supply a Class A drug. He was jailed for 16 months suspended for 18 months with 150 hours of unpaid work.

l Joseph John Scott (27) of Monkridge, North Walbottle, who pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying a Class A drug, one count of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply and one count of being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug. He was jailed for three years and three months.

l Sam Cottrell (29) of Tide Spring Row, Hebburn, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A drug, four counts of supplying a Class A drug, possession of a Class A drug and possession of criminal property. He was jailed for three years and nine months.

l Joseph Capocci (26) of Coquet Avenue, Gosforth, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply a Class A drug. He was jailed for three years.

l Fergus John Carneigie (29) of Hauxley Drive, Gosforth, who pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug. He was jailed for 19 months.

l Mahyar Carter (35) of Dove Cot Drive, Chester-le-Street, who pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to supply cocaine, six counts of supplying cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to supply and possession of criminal property. He was jailed for six years and four months.

l Christian McGee (25) of Stepney Lane, Battlefield, who pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug. He was jailed for 16 months suspended for 18 months with 150 hours of unpaid work.

l Ryan Colin Colquhoun (25) of Rydal Road, Lemington, who pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply, possession of a Class B drug and possession of criminal property. He was jailed for two years and four months.

l Paul Richards (26) of Percy Street, Hetton-le-Hole, who pleaded guilty to supplying a Class A drug. He was jailed for two years and four months.

l Emilio Vincenzo Arceri (26) of Heathfield Place, Low Fell, who pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a Class A drug. He was jailed for 22 months.