Drugs gang jailed for nearly 66 years

Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones

A man is behind bars after being identified as a “runner” in an organised crime gang which flooded the streets with drugs.

Ryan Jones, 20, whose last known address was on Bolton Road, Westhoughton, was jailed for four years and four months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

Drugs seized by the police

Drugs seized by the police

He was one of 15 people found to have been involved with a Merseyside-based organised crime group (OCG) known to drug users in Blackpool as “Scouse Macca”.

The members of the group were responsible for supplying class A drugs heroin and crack cocaine in the seaside town.

Lancashire Police launched Operation Kaleidoscope to target the gang and it ran from August 1 to December 16, 2015.

The group had a main telephone number that people called to order drugs. During the operation, this mobile phone was found to mostly be in Liverpool.

The buyer would be directed to a location to meet with the “runner” who would supply them with drugs.

The group used numerous runners, mainly locals, and they sometimes used drivers to transport them so they could meet their customers.

The judge sentenced on the basis of there being a very conservative estimate of 18,000 deals during the 144-day conspiracy and the phone receiving on average of 357 calls a day to buy drugs.

Operation Kaleidoscope ended when police executed search warrants in Liverpool and Lancashire on December 16, 2015.

At the Liverpool home of John Paul Hodson, who was the controller of and the person in possession of the phone, 308 individual wraps of heroin were recovered, along with cash, phones and other items.

These drugs were packaged into “street” deals and were ready to be taken to Blackpool.

Sixteen people were charged with conspiring together to supply crack cocaine and heroin in Blackpool.

Eleven of those pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court and five pleaded not guilty. Four of those who denied conspiracy to supply class A drugs were convicted after a trial.

Det Ch Insp Becky Smith, of Blackpool CID, said: “I am really pleased with the sentences which follow a long and complex investigation into this OCG and its activities.

“This operation has dismantled a gang responsible for the supply of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine, into Blackpool. Their activities brought misery to those addicted to drugs and their loved ones.

“That these people have now been removed from our neighbourhoods is down to the determination and professionalism of the staff of Lancashire Constabulary in pursuing and bringing to justice organised criminals who blight our communities.”

Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This operation has led to 15 dangerous drug dealers being locked up for a total of 66 years.

“I hope this sends a clear message to those who are getting involved in drug crime that the police have the resources, skills and determination to crack organisations like this and bring their members to justice.”

Here is the full list of the people involved:

John Paul Hodson, 32, of Marmion Avenue, Liverpool, head of the group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for nine years.

Antonia Coughlin, 31, of Marmion Avenue, Liverpool, Hodson’s partner, pleaded guilty to allowing premises to be used for the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. Given a 20-month suspended sentence.

Trevor Pollard, 34, last known address Butleigh Road, Liverpool, principal group member, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and Proceeds Of Crime Act offences. Jailed for eight years plus one year for POCA.

Ben Fraser, 34, last known address Bishop Road, Liverpool, middle man in Blackpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for seven years.

Terence Pollard, 61, owner of Cheltenham Road safe house, convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for seven-and-a-half years.

Ryan Jones, 20, last known address Bolton Road, Westhoughton, runner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for four years and four months.

Stuart Pothecary, 35, last known address Boscombe Road, Blackpool, runner, convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for four years and six months.

George Findlay, 36, formerly of Cookson Street, Blackpool, runner, convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for four years and six months.

Christopher Arrandale, 36, last known address Fisher Street, Blackpool, runner, pleaded guilty to supplying heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for 30 months.

Alan Sprague, 36, last known address Knowle Avenue, Blackpool, runner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin. Jailed for two years and 11 months.

Daniel Sampson, 20, last known address Osborne Road, Blackpool, runner, convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for three years and 10 months.

Susan Yates, 47, last known address Foxhall Road, Blackpool, runner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Failed to appear and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Steven Duxbury, 31, last known address McCormack Avenue, St Helens, runner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for three years and two months.

Martin Corallo, 29, last known address Cheltenham Road, Blackpool, driver, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for two years.

Wayne Bromley, 31, last known address King Edward Avenue, Blackpool, driver, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for five years and eight months.