Graham Earl jailed for seven years for drug offences

Adam Parris-Long 30/04/2015

Rio Di Caro

Former British and Commonwealth lightweight boxing champion Graham Earl has been jailed for seven years over his part in a drugs gang.

Earl, 36, of Talbot Road, Luton, is one of six men who have been sentenced to a total of 41 years in prison for their role in a conspiracy to supply drugs in North Hertfordshire and surrounding areas.

The Luton man has been jailed for conspiracy to supply cocaine. He was one of five men who worked for prolific drugs dealer Christopher Collins, who went by the street name ‘Mouse’.

Collins, 29, of Coopers Yard, Paynes Park, Hitchin, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

During his time in the ring Earl became Luton’s biggest boxing star and claimed the Commonwealth lightweight belt after a bruising encounter with Kevin Bennett in June 2005.

In February 2007 the Luton man fought at the Wembley Arena for the vacant WBO lightweight title against Michael Katsidis, but was forced to retire after five rounds.

Ten months later he was stopped by Amir Khan in the first round

Earl retired from boxing in 2009 but returned to the ring in April 2014 to fight old rival Michael Katsidis in Australia.

He lost on points after 12 rounds and fought once more a month later- losing to Steve Martin in Malta.

Detective inspector Ian Butler, from the Serious and Organised Crime Group, said: “Our operation has been a huge success and has led to the disruption of a significant drug ring.

“Whilst Collins was the leader of this group and it is right that he received the most significant sentence, he would not have been able to supply drugs at this level without those who supported him and I am pleased the courts have recognised their role in the running of the operation.”

Chief inspector for North Herts, Julie Wheatley, added: “Drugs have no place in our society and we will do everything in our power to disrupt an arrest offenders.

“People involved in such crimes can be intimidating, but they have no place in our society and together we can ensure our communities are even safer by working together to put them in prison.”

In all there are 30 people connected with the drugs conspiracy.

A number of others will sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on May 21.

Courtesy of Adam Parris-Long of lutontoday.co.uk. Follow on Twitter @LutonNewsAdam