RICHARD Brookhouse’s lynchpin in the £80m drug cartel that flooded the north west with cocaine and heroin has been jailed for 14 years.

Paul Hannon, aged 52, from Liverpool, was a major player at the top of the importation gang run by Grappenhall man Brookhouse.

Along with wife Diane, of Coronation Avenue, the fitness fanatic smuggled in large shipments of class A drugs under the guise of fishing trips to France.

Hannon’s sentence, and that of Liverpool partner Christopher Brown, aged 32, - described as the sorcerer and apprentice in court - who was jailed for 10 years eight months, brings the total prison time handed down to the ring to 247 years.

Hannon was recorded by specialist police unit Titan meeting crime boss Mr Brookhouse, who masterminded the operation, in Warrington.

The known dealer helped Mr Brookhouse place the imported drugs in Liverpool.

Brown and Hannon were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday.

The sentences mean 19 members of the Brookhouse gang have now been dealt with.

Two dealers from Halifax await discovering their fate, which will mark the end of Operation Redbank.

Mr and Mrs Brookhouse are already serving 20 year and 14 year prison sentences, respectively.