July 1, 2022 2.30 pm

Driver of Skegness heroin dealer avoids jail

Last of drug gang to face court

A Lincolnshire man who lent his car to a major heroin dealer so he could source drugs for his then partner was given a suspended jail sentence.

Kevin Hislop, 43, was described as having a “limited role” in a larger conspiracy to supply heroin to the streets of Skegness.

Under cover police officers carried out test purchases of the Class A drug over several months in the Summer of 2017 in a special investigation codenamed “Operation Hazelbrook.”

Hislop admitted driving Paul Steven Wilkinson, 41, who was described as the “head of operation”, on two occasions and lending him his car for nine trips.

Lincoln Crown Court heard a total of 33 trips to ferry drugs were made from Leicester to the seaside town.

Wilkinson was sentenced to over 14 years imprisonment in January 2020.

Six other people were also jailed for a total of over 21 years for their roles in the conspiracy.

Hislop, of West End, Spilsby, had been due to stand trial in July 2019 but his case was halted and then delayed because of the Covid pandemic.

When his case was re-listed following the pandemic Hislop admitted a charge of drugs conspiracy.

The court heard Hislop had admitted driving Wilkinson to Leicester on one occasion to collect some clothes when he was interviewed by police.

Almas Ben-Aribia, prosecuting, said that was in fact a lie, with Hislop making two trips with Wilkinson.

Miss Ben-Aribia added that the car in which the trips were made was registered in the name of Hislop’s then partner.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, mitigating, said Hislop had only got involved because he was concerned for his then partner.

“It is is quite unusual, but this man’s motivation was not to get drugs for himself, but to source them for his partner,” Mr Cranmer-Brown explained.

“He was concerned that she was rattling.”

Mr Cranmer-Brown said Hislop was now in a new relationship and was a hard working man.

“His employers are aware of these proceedings, he works for an engineering company,” Mr Cranmer-Brown added.

Passing sentence Judge John Pini QC told Hislop he could avoid sending him straight to jail because of his limited role in the conspiracy and his lack of other convictions.

Judge Pini said: “The conspiracy for which I have to sentence you goes back some five years.”

Hislop was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment suspended for two years, and must also complete 180 hours of community punishment.