THE leader of a gang who ran a £3,000 per day cocaine and heroin operation by taking over an addict’s home has had an appeal against his sentence rejected.

Courtney Kirby-Diamond headed up a gang called the Jay Boys who took over addict Steven Root’s house in Hadleigh Road, Clacton, and used it to bag up and move on hard drugs they had moved to the town from London in a vile process known as cuckooing.

But the eight-strong group were jailed at the end of last year following a huge investigation by Essex Police’s Operation Raptor team.

The gang were handed a combined 40 years in jail at Chelmsford Crown Court last year following a six week trial with Courtney-Diamond given 11 years behind bars after being convicted of conspiracies to supply cocaine and heroin and admitting a knifepoint robbery of a scooter rider in Loughton.

The dad-of-two appealed his sentence saying Judge Emma Peters had been unduly harsh.

But his application was rejected at the Court of Appeal by Judge Johannah Cutts QC said the term was “just and proportionate” to the offending.

The 26-year-old was found on three occasions in a property where large quantities of cash and mobile phones were found.

Phone evidence linked the various conspirators, while number plate recognition evidence showed frequent trips between London and Clacton as they ferried drugs to and from the seaside town.

One of those who was drawn into the plots to deal drugs said he had been directly contacted on Facebook by Kirby-Diamond, of Queensbridge Road, Hackney who was described as dismissive and arrogant by police after sentencing.

Incriminating photographs of the gang splashing cash using the money they had made from the Class A drug operation were also found on mobile phones and social media.

During last year’s trial the gang were repeatedly warned about their behaviour as they laughed and smirked while proceedings were ongoing.

Judge Cutts said:”He was involved in serious criminal offending for a significant period of time.

“The crown court judge was well-placed to decide his role in the conspiracies.

“We are unpersuaded that the judge failed to take sufficient account, on the facts of the case, of his mitigation.

“The judge was right to find this was a well-organised operation, which involved an element of exploitative behaviour.

“Such operations carry the hallmarks of professional crime, above and beyond that in normal street dealing.”

His sentence was upheld.