Drugs linchpin begins long term

Craig Allen, also known as the Ginger Ninja
Craig Allen, also known as the Ginger Ninja

An ‘untouchable’ Sheffield drugs baron who ran an international heroin and cocaine dealing ring from a luxury mansion in Thailand has been locked up for 20 years.

Craig Allen, aged 50, and his four associates were jailed for a total of 61 years this week at Sheffield Crown Court.

Detectives said Allen – whose convictions date back to 1975, and who was cleared of the murder of music promoter Lester Divers in Walkley in 2003 – ‘thought he was above the law’.

The Crown Prosecution Service described him as ‘the linchpin of a global drugs conspiracy’ and ‘one of the most significant traffickers ever prosecuted in Yorkshire and Humberside.’

But justice finally caught up with the 50-year-old from Burngreave – dubbed ‘the ginger ninja’ and ‘little fella’ - following a two-year police investigation.

Allen’s operation made him £5,000 a week to spend on living in a mansion with a swimming pool, with his Thai wife and child.

But his empire crumbled when he was arrested at gunpoint outside Ikea in Amsterdam by Dutch police last October, then extradited to the UK.

Judge Paul Watson QC said: “On any view, this was major league drugs supply.

“This was a substantial criminal empire, at the very top of which was you.

“As well as physical injury and misery to the end user, the supply of Class A drugs by organised crime groups spawns violent crime as each gang goes in search of the highly lucrative rewards offered by the trade in illicit drugs.

“As this court has seen, the violence can escalate to the most brutal and inhumane.”

Judge Watson added: “The courts will do everything they can to extinguish this vile trade.”

Leroy Grant, 50, of Manchester, was described as Allen’s ‘senior partner’ and jailed for 18 years after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin after a trial.

O’Neil Richard Davidson, 36, of Stockport, was given eight years, while Steven Hudson, 43, of Ellesmere Road, Burngreave, was given nine years.

Allen’s ex-partner, heroin addict Selena Nickels, 45, of Scotia Drive, Manor, was locked up for six years, all for the same offence.

A sixth defendant, Brian Saunders, 48, is to be sentenced at a later date.