OPERATION LASER: Defendant turned away after bring drunk and abusive in court

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Two more men and a teenager arrested as part of the huge police operation to clamp down on drug dealing in Rugby have appeared at Warwick Crown Court.

There should have been four people in the dock – but John Berrill turned up drunk and was abusive towards court staff.

As a result Berrill, 40, of Siddaway House, Millers Dale Close, Rugby, was ejected from the court building by security officers before the case was called on.

That left Shane Tune, 26, of Knowle Close, Rugby; Jake Cannell, 23, of Augustus Close, Cambridge; and Kwaku Amponsah, 17, of Beulah Hill, London, in the dock.

Prosecutor Emma Cutts said they and Berrill are all facing charges of conspiracy to supply class A drugs after being arrested as part of the follow-up to Operation Laser.

The ‘test purchase’ operation involving undercover officers was set up by Warwickshire police to combat drug dealing. David Rees, for Berrill, said he had turned up at court, but was “the worse for wear” and was ejected by security staff after becoming abusive.

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said the hearing could go ahead in his absence and that it would be “a little harsh” to issue a bench warrant since he had actually turned up.

He adjourned the case against all four defendants for the prosecution papers to be served by early January and for the defence to serve defence case statements or indications of plea by February 17.

There will then be a plea and case management hearing for the four on March 1 – and barristers for Tune, Cannell and Amponsah indicated they will enter guilty pleas to some charges.

Martin Groves, for Tune, applied for him to be granted bail in the meantime, pointing out that it was his daughter’s first birthday on Friday. That was rejected by Judge Griffith-Jones who remanded Tune, who was said to have been involved in three conspiracy groups, and Cannell in custody, but Berrill and Amponsah were granted bail.

Some 39 other people have already appeared at the court following the police operation.