A World Cup football hooligan was jailed for seven and a half years yesterday for running a cocaine-dealing operation, partly from his French prison cell.
Northampton Crown Court was told that during the two months James Shayler, 34, spent in prison in France last summer, he arranged for friends to collect debts totalling pounds 10,000 from selling the class A drug
Shayler, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine between November 1997 and 3 July last year.
Four other men, who were involved in collecting the money, were jailed for between 12 months and five years.
Alan Betts, 26, was sentenced to five years for conspiracy to supply cocaine after pleading guilty. Jason McMaster, 24, and Mark Cooper, 23, were each given 12 months after pleading guilty to acquiring the proceeds of drug trafficking. McMaster was sentenced to a further 18 months in prison for grievous bodily harm. All three men are from Wellingborough.
Judge Francis Allen told Shayler: "You were the organiser of this matter even from France. Ten thousand pounds worth is probably far too little, but that is the bare minimum of class A drugs that was involved."
Shayler, who had been jailed in France for two months after clashes between English and Tunisian fans in Marseilles in June 1998, wrote to friends from jail arranging for debts totalling pounds 5,000 to be collected.
One of the recipients of the letters, Reginald Williams, 54, of Wellingborough, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to assisting in obtaining benefits from drug trafficking.
Shayler was arrested at Gatwick airport on his return from France.Reuse content