SOUTH Essex criminals were jailed for major crimes this month including a landmark case which saw a drug dealer sentenced after being caught with laughing gas.

Here are the south Essex criminals jailed in February.

Thomas Salton

Thomas Salton, 31, was stopped by officers on December 1 last year as he was driving a range rover in Southernhay, Basildon.

Officers found Salton in possession of more than £39,000 in cash, cannisters of nitrous oxide a grip sealed bags of ketamine.

Salton was arrested on caution and phones found two iPhones were found in his shoulder bag containing personal and business messages.

A further encrypted Google phone was found as Salton refused to provide a pin.

Officers searched Salton’s flat in William Hunter Way, Brentwood, and another address in Vange, with a vacuum packaged bag of psilocybin mushrooms, bags of ketamine and 34 empty grip sealed bags and 408 units of nitrous oxide found.

Salton was appeared in Basildon Crown Court on January 8 and pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply drugs at Class B and C in relation to ketamine and nitrous oxide.

In Basildon Crown Court on February 19, Salton was sentenced to two years and eleven months in prison for these offences and simple possession of a Class A drug.

Stephen and Tracy Tappenden, James Gorrie

Married couple Stephen and Tracy Tappenden, 62 and 53, James Gorrie, 60, and Vicky Martin, 56, were all arrested following raids of their Basildon and Brentwood homes on October 3, 2023.

The group was arrested as part of Operation Silver, an Essex Police investigation into the supply of cocaine into Canvey from the ‘Gold and Silver’ line.

The line ran for years but the four defendants were involved from April to October with police finding five burner phones at the Tappenden’s home in Wickhay, Basildon, as the phones contained drug dealing messages addressing Stephen.

A search of Martin’s home in Fielding Way, Hutton, Brentwood uncovered a total of 44 wraps of cocaine in gold wraps found in green carrier bags, drug paraphernalia including tick lists and £1455 in cash.

All four were charged with being in concerned in the supply of cocaine with Gorrie and Martin also charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine to another. They pleaded guilty and were sentenced in Southend Crown Court on Friday, February 2.

Stephen and Tracy Tappenden for 44 and 33 months, Gorrie of Quennell Way, Brentwood, for 33 months and Martin was handed a 24 month sentence suspended for 24 months with a 60-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Lisa Allen

Lisa Allen , 43, and Michael Darcey, 37, assaulted a victim outside WH Smith in Southend High Street on August 14, last year.

The ‘unprovoked’ attack saw the pair armed with keys punch and slash at the victim several times leaving him ‘gushing with blood’.

Upon being taken into police custody, Allen was found with a bag of cannabis.

She was also in breach of a five-year restraining order instructing her to stay away from Darcey which was imposed on January 16, 2023.

Allen and Darcey pleaded guilty to section 20 unlawful wounding on September 19. Allen also pleaded guilty to the restraining order breach and cannabis possession.

Darcey appeared in Basildon Crown Court whilst Allen appeared via prison video link on Tuesday, February 13, for sentencing.

Allen, of Hastings Road, Southend, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and Darcey, of Crowstone Road, Westcliff, was handed a 14 month sentence suspended for 24 months.

Anthony Sibanda

Anthony Sibanda, 23, sold drugs out of a flat in Grouts, Hart Road, Benfleet belonging to his two co-defendants Elisa Piper and Danny Williams.

Piper, 42, of Hill Road, Benfleet and Williams, 50, of Grouts, Hart Road, allowed the home to be used as a ‘base of operations’ in exchange for drugs.

Police arrested Sibanda on August 24 last year and executed a warrant at the flat in Hart Road, Benfleet.

Sibanda ran the ‘Franklin’ drug line selling cocaine and heroin.

Sibanda, of Little Roke Road, Kenley, Greater London appeared in Basildon Crown Court on February 12 and was sentenced two years and seven months in prison.

Abdullah Khan

Abdullah Khan, 22, brought drugs from London into the Southend area as part of the ‘Drops’ or ‘Kane’ line where he was a runner.

The line is believed to have run over seven months from September 6, 2022 to April 29, 2023 but Khan’s involvement became known to police on April 27, last year.

Echo: Sentenced - Abdullah Khan was also jailed in FebruarySentenced - Abdullah Khan was also jailed in February (Image: Essex Police)

Upon his arrest on April 28 at a Southend address, he was found with £590 in his possession and gave a ‘largely no comment’ interview to police.

Khan, of Kilmartin Road, Ilford, pleaded guilty to two counts of being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of Class A to another on August 2.

He appeared in Basildon Crown Court on February 1 and was sentenced to sentenced to 18 months in prison concurrently on both counts of being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug of Class A to another.