MEMBERS of £12 million drugs ring died before they could be sentenced for their crimes.

Judge Anthony Niblett was told the news at the start of a hearing at Hove Crown Court this morning.

Lee Mack and Andrew Antoniou admitted conspiracy to supply heroin in Brighton, Hove and Eastbourne but both died of cancer.

Mack, 50, of Sheepcote Valley Caravan Park, Brighton, died in April and Antoniou, 58, of Dorset Mews, Brighton on May 5.

Caroline Haughey, prosecuting, confirmed no further action would be taken against them and Judge Niblett ordered their names to be removed from further court lists.

This brings the total of deaths of those involved in the case to four. 

Kingsley Walls, 44, who also had previously pleaded guilty to his role within the organisation, died of natural causes in December.

Ringleader Thomas Wynn, 49, of Commercial Road in Vauxhall, Liverpool, was found dead in a Dubai hotel room while on the run from Sussex Police.  

Lea Smith, 46, of Natal Road, Brighton, who was convicted of being part of the conspiracy is due to be sentenced today.

He is joined by Neil Ballard, 48, of Hangleton Road, Hove, Paul Shannon, 60, of North Street, Eastbourne and Arthur Jones, 55, Downs Avenue, Eastbourne, who all admitted to conspiracy to supply heroin.