ON the face of it, Jamie Oldroyd was a successful businessman who boasted celebrity contacts, a fleet of luxury cars and cash to spare.

In reality, he was grooming impressionable young men to work in the cocaine racket he had built to the point where it had become worth hundreds of thousands of pounds – if not millions.

At the same time, gangsters higher up the chain were coming after him – threatening him and his family with petrol bombs and a hail of bullets.

Warrington Guardian:

Jamie Oldroyd

As a teenager, Oldroyd became a well-known and somewhat notorious figure on the housing estates of Birchwood.

One of his early convictions came in 2008 when, at the age of 18, he shot a young girl in the leg with a paintball gun in the street ‘for a laugh’ and was jailed for a year.

In 2015, he was convicted for dealing cannabis alongside his younger brother William Wright and was put behind bars again.

Upon his release from prison, delayed after he was caught with a mobile phone stashed in the U-bend of the toilet in his cell, he soon set about establishing his new business – Pro Lease Vehicle Hire.

Based on Common Lane in Culcheth, the company traded in high performance and high value cars –Audis, Jaguars, Mercedes.

And Oldroyd, of Rennie Drive in Latchford, was backed by the power of celebrity, albeit minor ones.

The likes of Made in Chelsea star Sam Thompson, the Only Way is Essex’s Myles Barnett and former Love Island contestant Frankie Foster gave their endorsements to Pro Lease via Instagram after sourcing Range Rovers and Mercs from Oldroyd’s business.

Warrington Guardian:

Instagram endorsements of Pro Lease from Sam Thompson, Frankie Foster and Myles Barnett

Warrington Guardian:

But all wasn’t as it seemed, and he soon came to the attention of the police again through tips-offs from the community and his ‘brashness’.

Over the course of the 14-month covert investigation Operation Dreadnought, of which he was the focus, Oldroyd was observed driving as many as 17 different luxury cars.

Beneath the façade, the 29-year-old was shipping kilos and kilos of cocaine across the country to towns and cities including Manchester, Carlisle, Scunthorpe, Darlington and Sussex.

In doing so, he began to run up massive debts with drug dealers higher up the chain – leading to death threats and attacks on him and his family.

This began in July last year when the windows of Designs All Mine – a bridalwear shop on Common Lane owned by Oldroyd’s mum, which had been opened by model Katie Price – were smashed by two unidentified men.

Warrington Guardian:

Katie Price opening Designs All Mine in Culcheth

The following month, shots were fired at his parents’ house on Doeford Close in Culcheth late one Tuesday night.

Then, in November, Dutch Lux – a sweet shop on Padgate Lane owned by Wright – was petrol bombed by two masked men during an arson attack.

Warrington Guardian:

Dutch Lux - picture by Google Maps

Oldroyd’s fleet of cars, kept in a compound near his Latchford home, was also trashed.

Detective chief inspector Mike Evans, of Cheshire Police’s serious and organised crime group, said: “Oldroyd classed himself as a businessman but he wasn’t a particularly good businessman.

“His car leasing company was massively unsuccessful because he spent more than he earned, and his drugs business became unsuccessful because he couldn’t keep on top of the money.

“He was very arrogant and he had a very cash-rich lifestyle, driving round in flash cars gathering lots of attention – he considered himself to be quite a significant player in the drugs industry.

“People living next door, or around the corner or in the same town work hard and earn considerably less money in a year than he would earn in a month.

“There was a significant amount of money going through this organised crime group.”

Oldroyd privately blamed Paul Ferraiolo, ‘very well known in Merseyside crime groups’ and who he had sourced cocaine from, for the campaign against him.

Warrington Guardian:

Paul Ferraiolo being arrested by police

Ferraiolo had sold gang member Islam Grana a kilo of cocaine on the car park of the Tavern pub in Widnes in April 2018.

Grana was driving these drugs to Middlesbrough when he was stopped by police and arrested in Halifax – the cocaine having been discovered in a sports bag beneath the passenger seat.

Warrington Guardian:

Islam Grana

In the end, Oldroyd was Ferraiolo’s downfall – police having taken his £40,000 motorbike, his cars, his money, his clothes, his watches and his trainers away from him after raiding his house in Widnes in September last year.

Warrington Guardian:

Ferraiolo pictured behind the wheel of a luxury car and a Lamborghini on the drive of his home

Meanwhile, videos of 27-year-old Grana counting out £150,000 in cash at his home on Killingworth Lane in Gorse Covert alongside Oldroyd and Taulant Paja – the owner of the car wash where he worked in Birchwood – were found on his phone when it was seized by officers.

Warrington Guardian:

Taulant Paja

Examples of Oldroyd’s excess were numerous – none more so than when he rammed a member of the public while driving his £30,000 dune buggy on the pavement near a primary school, for which he was later convicted of dangerous driving.

In April last year, he was stopped by armed police on London Road in Appleton in scenes that eyewitness described as being ‘like something out of a movie’ - being held over matters unrelated to his drugs empire.

READ > Bouncy castles, Strongbow Dark Fruits and a cancelled wedding: The gang behind the country's biggest ever drugs seizure 

Warrington Guardian:

Jamie Oldroyd being arrested by armed police on London Road

Oldroyd’s gang were ‘very well organised’ and used encrypted phones costing £1,500 for a six-month contract – while the young drug couriers he recruited were paid between £150 and £500 per trip, and would all similarly be found driving BMWs and Audis.

A police source told the Warrington Guardian: “Jamie Oldroyd had been involved in drugs for a good period of time, but he escalated himself to be a multi-kilo national supplier of cocaine alongside Jamie Simpson.

“For young lads in Warrington, seeing Oldroyd and his criminal associates driving around in brand new Mercs with cash to spare was a massive negative influence on them.

Warrington Guardian:

A picture of a bag filled with money found on Islam Grana's phone

“They aspired to this lifestyle and the material possessions that came with it.

“For us to take them down sends out a clear message that crime doesn’t pay.

“While Jamie Oldroyd put himself at the top of this criminal enterprise, we didn’t catch him with any drugs.

“Young Warrington lads, many from good families, were the ones taking all the risks and Oldroyd thought he was safe driving around in flash cars.

“But you would have to be blind not to notice his behaviour on the streets of Warrington and the crime he was involved in.”