A CAREER criminal is starting a 16-year prison sentence after undercover cops smashed a drugs factory and network in Brighouse.
Kevin Booth (pictured) went on sailing courses, bought a £20,000 rigid inflatable boat and even had flying lessons at Leeds/Bradford Airport to pilot fixed wing aircraft, before his arrest last summer.
Although the 49-year-old was not linked directly to a drugs importation into the country, prosecutor Nicholas Lumley told Bradford Crown Court yesterday that he had been arrested “before his plans grew.”
And the judge said he had no doubts the boat would have been used to smuggle drugs.
During an operation last year, West Yorkshire Police, assisted by Merseyside Police, seized a total of 65 kilos of drugs including cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis and a rare form of amphetamine known as fluoro-amphetamine.
On Thursday, July 30, 2009, undercover officers tracked Booth and his accomplice Paul Kirman on the M62 at Hartshead Moor.
Armed officers followed Booth after he refused to stop for them until a collision occurred at the junction of Halifax Road and Cliffe Common Lane, Liversedge. The Vauxhall Astra Booth was travelling in collided with a wooden gate. No injuries were caused.
Booth was arrested and found in possession of 5 kilos of cocaine worth £300,000 inside a holdall.
Later that day Kirman was arrested at his home in Merseyside. Officers searched the house and found more than 20 kilos of drugs along with packaging and manufacturing equipment.
They then raided a flat being used as a safe house on Denholme Gate Road, Hipperholme, Brighouse, and seized more than £1m-worth of drugs.
After a surveillance operation covering several months, Booth, of Bingley, and trusted courier Kirman, from Huyton, Liverpool, were both arrested.
Booth drove off but was arrested after a pursuit and Kirman was detained after being followed back to his home on Merseyside.
Police also recovered an industrial food processor, a heat sealing machine and 50 kilos of cutting agent. In the Hipperholme flat officers found a hydraulic press, 15 kilos of cocaine and 5.5 kilos of the flouro-amphetamine.
They also recovered nearly 60 kilos of a cutting agent which was being imported from China.
Booth, of Dobkiln Lane, Bingley, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and it emerged during the hearing that he had a series of previous convictions dating back more than three decades.
He had served long jail terms for wounding, affray, burglary robbery and other drugs offences.
Kirman, 44, who admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of drugs with intent to supply, was jailed for seven years.
Booth’s 21-year-old son Michael, of Cleckheaton Road, Bradford, was jailed for 21 months after he being concerned in the production of a Class A drug and unrelated offences of possessing offensive weapons and drugs.
He admitted carrying bags of cutting agent into the Hipperholme flat for his father.
Jailing Kevin Booth, Judge Jonathan Rose said it was almost trite to describe him as a professional, career criminal.
The judge said his criminal activities over the last 34 years had been motivated by overwhelming greed and his long prison sentences in the past had not deterred him.
He added: “The facts recited to me concern the movement of drugs within the United Kingdom and the people that you were meeting with within the United Kingdom demonstrates that the distribution of the drugs would be within the shores of the United Kingdom.”