Text us your news! Start your message Warrington News and send any photos or videos to 80360
Drugs gang jailed for 27 years
8:00am Thursday 14th March 2013 in News
A DRUGS gang who were caught supplying cocaine to the town have been put behind bars for a combined total of more than 27 years.
The group of seven men and one woman appeared at Warrington Crown Court on Monday after being watched by police between July and November last year.
Operation Bray saw the Runcorn gang supply high-strength class a drugs to a Warrington group who were described by judge David Hale as the ‘local wholesaler’, mixing the drugs down into smaller quantities to be sold at street level on a weekly basis.
Owen Edwards, prosecuting, said Thomas Hill, of Poplars Avenue, Orford, and Matthew Webster, of Birchdale Road, Paddington, were leading figures in the Warrington gang.
Cocaine worth up to £87,000 would be collected from Stephen Rolands, of Limekiln Row, Runcorn with Thomas Hill’s dad James, of Locker Avenue, Longford, acting as the delivery driver.
Christopher Ruth’s home on Hulme Street was initially used to bash the drugs into amounts for dealers before police moved in and James and Thomas Hill used a shop in Padgate instead where they were caught.
Michael Westhead, from Winsford, was arrested after crashing his motorbike while carrying cocaine with a street value of £49,000 to 87,000 to his home town.
All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs and the court heard the group had shown a great deal of remorse and had got involved due to various financial difficulties.
Judge David Hale said: “It causes so much crime with people burgling homes to pay for drugs and getting into drug debt and escalates peoples’ involvement in crime.
“I am most surprised at James Hill, driving drugs around for your son.
“You should have had more sense.”
Thomas Hill, aged 24, was sentenced to five years and four months, Matthew Webster, aged 26, got six years, while Stephen Rolands, aged 29, was sentenced to six years and four months.
Christopher Ruth, aged 25, and Michael Westhead, aged 30, were both given 40 months for their involvement while James Hill, aged 49, was handed a 44 month sentence.
Ruthin couple David Roberts, aged 21, and Maria Parlour, aged 33, were both given two year suspended sentences after being described as the lowest section of the chain.
DS Chris Hole, of Cheshire Police’s Force Crime Operations Unit, said Operation Brae followed on from high profile drugs operations Cortex and Knock which saw 26 men sentenced to more than 100 years behind bars for offences of conspiracy to supply and distribute Class A drugs.
He added: “Following the arrests and charges as part of Operation Cortex and Operation Knock a void was left in the illegal drugs market within Warrington. “Detectives continued to monitor the movements of this latest gang as part of Operation Brae resulting in a number of further arrests and charges.
“This latest investigation has once again struck at the heart of an organised crime gang by removing the hierarchy who organise the drug supply and reap the benefits from the profits generated.”