A DRUGS gang chief who flooded Swindon with thousands of pounds-worth of heroin and crack cocaine has been told he will have to pay just £430 under proceeds of crime rules.

Andre Hewitt, 28, formerly of Grays, Essex, was found to have benefitted to the tune of £80,000.

But at a hearing at Swindon Crown Court on Tuesday, Judge Peter Crabtree ordered him to pay back less than half a per cent of that sum.

Londoner Hewitt headed the Alex County Line, which was said by police to have sold anything between 2.6kg and 6.6kg of heroin and crack cocaine, with a street value of between £266,000 and £665,000. The judge sentenced on the basis the smaller amount had been sold.

The line was in operation between December 2016 and August 2017. Hewitt hired cars from Avis in Swindon to drive drugs down to Swindon, to supply local dealers like 28-year-old trusted man Jay Dodson of Pinehurst.

The gang’s leader enjoyed holidays to Mexico and Cyprus, on each occasion leaving his lieutenant Shane Drew in charge of the line.

Both men had been members of notorious east London gang the London Fields Boys. In 2011, two members of the gang were jailed for the murder of a Hoxton schoolgirl. Seven months later Drew was among three jailed for a revenge attack attempt on an 18-year-old witness in the murder case.

Last year, Hewitt received seven years and three months from Judge Crabtree, to be served after an almost four-year sentence he’d been given a month earlier for robbery. Drew received five years and eight months.

Other gang members were given more than six-and-a-half years’ jail time.

In a letter to the judge, Hewitt said he was remorseful and spoke of the impact the case had on his mental health. He was said to have set up the line on the orders of a more senior gangster as recompense for previously losing a drugs line phone.

Reacting to the sentences at the time, Det Con Gareth Snoad said: “Smashing this particular County Line sends a strong message to any dangerous drug network targeting Swindon and Wiltshire, we may appear as easy targets but we’re not and you are not welcome here.

“These dangerous individuals preyed on vulnerable young people and adults in Swindon, pushing hard drugs on to people who found it impossible to say no. Those people will be getting help from us and our partners.”

Susan Cavender appeared for the Crown, Archangelo Power for Hewitt.