A GROUP of men running a ‘commercial scale’ drug operation from a house in Chapelford worth more than £325,000 have been jailed.

Cannabis and resin, which experts believe was imported from California, was discovered at the property on Portland Road after a tip-off from a member of the public.

Around 32kg of skunk cannabis and resin worth more than £325,000 was found at the house by police, Liverpool Crown Court heard today, Friday.

An internal modified door had also been installed in 'sparsely furnished property' to make entry by police difficult.

Daniel Cooke-McGuiness, 28, James Frangleton, 36, Craig Burns, 58 appeared at court for sentencing.

Cooke-McGuiness of Kiveton Walk, Orford was on bail from an incident in 2017 involving a cannabis operation in Liverpool.

In 2017, Cooke-McGuiness was arrested and charged with possession with intent to supply cannabis and cannabis resin.

A police raid on the house in Liverpool found £17,820 worth of skunk cannabis and £3,890 worth of resin.

Edmund Haygarth, prosecuting, told the court that Cooke-McGuiness also runs JB Autofix and JB Valeting in Bewsey and employed James Frangleton as a driver at these businesses.

Warrington Guardian:

James Frangleton

He claimed he did not know of his boss' drugs and Mr Haygarth told the court: "He could not smell the drugs as he was a user of cannabis and always had the smell lingering in his nostrils."

James Frangleton, of Simkin Avenue in Latchford was found along with Craig Burns, of Liverpool Road in Great Sankey and Cooke-McGuiness in the house.

Warrington Guardian:

Craig Burns

Mr Haygarth said: "It was obvious to police that the kitchen was being used at the time of the raid to package cannabis, as loose cannabis was found in a measuring jug.

"26.6kg of vacuum packed cannabis was found in cardboard boxes in the living room, which an expert believes was imported from California.

"It has a minimum street value of £312,000.

"Five-and-a-half kilograms of resin was also found valued between £11,000 and £14,000."

Craig Burns worked for Cook-McGuiness for 10 months packaging cannabis after getting into gambling debt.

Thin gloves were also found which Frangleton admitted using so fingerprints were not left behind.

Charles Lander, defending Cooke-McGuiness, said: “He was on bail which is an aggravating feature.

“He was in debt with others from drug use which is why he got involved in the supply.

“He has two young children aged three and one and realises the dangers of being involved with this kind of thing.

“He has a trusted job in prison and his dad says he will take him under his wing once he is out of custody.”

Although cannabis was found in Frangleton's van, his barrister Lloyd Morgan argued his role was ‘limited’.

Described by friends and his other employer as ‘trustworthy and reliable’, Frangleton said he has ‘let himself down’.

Zillah Williams, defending Craig Burns, said: "He has never been involved in criminal proceedings before.

"He was told what to do and had a limited role bagging up the drugs."

Judge Brian Cummings sentenced Cooke-McGuiness to four years and three months and Frangleton three years and two months for being concerned in the supply of cannabis while Burns received two years for possession with intent to supply class B.