A MIRFIELD man who masterminded a huge drug-smuggling operation is behind bars.
Ian Kirton, 41, is one of four men who received jail terms totalling 79 years for their parts in a crime said to have involved drugs worth around £7m.
The four men, two from Bradford, one from Mirfield and the other from Skegness, received their sentences at Canterbury Crown Court, Kent, for smuggling the drugs into the country.
The heaviest sentence - 22 years - was imposed on Kirton, of Kitson Hill Road, Mirfield.
He was said to be closest to the organisers and to have played a supervisory role in the importation.
Russell Crisp, 38, of Highgate Road, Clayton Heights, Bradford, was jailed for 20 years.
Carl Martin, 29, of Clervaux Court, Scholemoor, Bradford, was jailed for 19.
And lorry driver Michael Briggs, 52, formerly of Low Moor, Bradford, but now of Brough Road, Skegness, was given 18 years.
Briggs was arrested last October when customs officers in Dover, Kent, seized 111kg of heroin and 8.19kg of cocaine - found in the trailer of his vehicle.
All four had denied smuggling 5.75kg of pure cocaine and 54.8kg of pure heroin, but were convicted on both charges. The drugs had a street value of almost £7m.
The prosecution said Kirton, Martin and Crisp amassed the drugs on the continent before meeting Briggs.
Passing sentence, Judge Adele Williams said heroin and cocaine were pernicious drugs and their importation "a truly evil trade".
She said: "Vast profits would have been made if this had succeeded and endless misery would have been caused to those addicted.
"This was serious organised crime."
The drugs were individually marked and labelled ready to be distributed to suppliers in the UK.
Judge Williams told Kirton: "Having heard you give evidence, you are the most intelligent of the three who gave evidence."
He had rented an industrial unit and stored vehicles used in the importation to distribute the drugs in the Bradford area.
Judge Williams said: "You were the one driving the fast car ready for a quick getaway."
Crisp and Martin were almost equally involved, although Crisp was more culpable because of his age.
"You are more street wise. You all manipulated the evidence to fit with the Crown's case," she said.
The judge told Briggs, a father-of-two, that he had lended himself to the enterprise.
"Your co-operation would have been essential, without which the importation could not have been achieved," she said.
"You, I treat as a courier and are least severely implicated."
She added: "The message must continue to go out that people who involve themselves with Class A drugs on this level can expect nothing but deterrent sentences."