5:00pm Thursday 14th February 2013
By Emily Walker
A man who owned a drug factory that produced more than a million pounds worth of narcotics to the Brighton and Hove party scene has been jailed.
Drew Needham, 54, moved from Brighton to a remote farmhouse in Wales and set up a production line manufacturing orange ecstasy pills.
He was part of a gang that flooded the city’s pubs and clubs with the brightly-coloured tablets – which they called Tangos – as well as the psychoactive class A drug 2CB.
Detectives working for the Serious Organised Crime Agency raided the farm and found pill press covered in orange-coloured ecstasy powder and £60,000 worth of drugs – after monitoring the gang for several months.
In Needham’s home in Llanfyndd, Carrnarthen, next door to the factory, they found more drugs in the bathroom cupboard along with a bottle of orange food colouring.
After pleading guilty to conspiring to supply Ecstasy pills, he was yesterday (February 13) sentenced to six years in prison.
The gang was caught after accomplice Christopher Meffen, of Stonery Close, Portslade, was sent by lynchpin Edward Nye to repair the pill press at Needham’s farm on February 24, 2011.
Detectives traced phone calls between members of the group, followed the gang to Wales and arrested Meffen on the way back.
In an interview with police Meffen claimed: “Ed Nye asked me to fix a machine in Wales. I went there and saw it was a tablet press so I didn’t want to get involved with it so I told Nye that it could not be fixed, although it could have been.”
He claimed to be fearful of Nye and initially denied having anything to do with the manufacture of drugs.
He pleaded guilty to plotting to supply ecstasy and was convicted of plotting to supply 2CB pills and was jailed for eight years.
A spokesman for the Serious Organised Crime Agency said: “Meffen and Needham were involved in a business which entailed flooding the pubs and clubs of Brighton with potentially deadly designer drug pills.
“They are now behind bars where they belong and have been denied substantial profits.”
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