A GANGSTER arrested in a hotel hot tub is one of the dealers serving a total of 109 years for bringing drugs into Cheshire.

Kane Birch, 23, was hiding out in the Village Hotel on Centre Park when he was seized by police, along with Macauley Peacock, 24.

He was wanted for drugs offences.

On Monday in Chester Crown Court, both men and co-defendant Dean Murphy, all of whom are from Manchester, were handed lengthy spells behind bars after a gun was found in their hotel room.

Birch has also been sent down for co-ordinating the supply of heroin and crack cocaine into Macclesfield.

He controlled a graft phone which, on one occasion, was used to send out 221 flare messages in one hour advertising the sale of crack cocaine and heroin.

There are now seven gangs involving 21 men and two women behind bars for a total of 109 years.

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Evans, of Cheshire’s serious and organised crime unit, said: "In cases where there are pockets of gangs operating a busy drugs market in a small town, serious violence will take place predominantly behind the scenes – and most of it going unreported to police.

"These drug dealers had no connection to Macclesfield and would travel into the town on a daily basis purely to prey on users.

"What came to light during the operation was the harm the gangs inflicted on vulnerable people and residents within this community, while also going to great lengths to exploit youngsters for their profit margins.

"The team worked incredibly hard for a long period of time to eradicate these drug gangs and their violence to make the community a safer place and to protect vulnerable people who feel trapped in this world.

"I hope this reassures residents that we do take action and I would encourage those who think drug activity is happening in their area to contact Cheshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."