A WARRINGTON man has appeared in court as part of a trial into importing 'billions of pounds' worth of cocaine and heroin into the UK.

In what prosecutors have dubbed the UK's 'biggest drugs conspiracy'. Mark Peers, 55, and seven others, have been accused of vast drug importations into the UK from the Netherlands over a two-year period.

All eight have appeared at Manchester Crown Court today, Tuesday, for allegedly smuggling cocaine, heroin, cannabis and amphetamine between 2016 and 2018 under the cover of bogus fruit and veg firms.

They all deny the charges

They were involved in packing drugs into pallets, mostly with ginger, onions and garlic to hide the smell, in the Netherlands and transporting them to various warehouses in the north west to be unpacked and distributed.

Consignments of fruit juice were sent by HGG to a business named Universal Wholesale in a Penketh industrial estate.

Peers, of Norbreck Close in Penketh, was involved in the distribution of drugs, the court heard. He denies the charge.

He had dealings with members of another group who were regular customers of the importation business.

On the day of the final drugs seizures (when £8.8 million of drugs were intercepted) he was the man waiting at the warehouse in Warrington to receive the drugs.

Paul Green, 55, from Widnes, is accused of being the 'ringleader' of the many different group". He has changed his name twice by deed poll from James Russell to Simon Swift and then Green.

Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, said: "The prosecution say that those companies were all just fronts for the illegal activities of a criminal group led by the defendant Paul Green.

"Paul Green was the chief organiser behind the importations. He was the puppeteer pulling the strings of others. He created and hid behind the false identities and bogus companies.

"Paul Green and the other defendants in this trial provided a transport service to enable them to get the drugs into the UK. Criminal groups would pay him a fee to ship the drugs to the UK.

"Paul Green and his co-conspirators rented premises in the Netherlands, where the drugs would be hidden within pallets load of goods. They also rented warehouses in the UK where the drugs would be removed for distribution. The actual shipping into the UK would be done by an innocent haulage company."

Mr Thomas QC told the jury: "You may find the stench of crime overpowering. As we understand it, all of the defendants in this case will claim that they are innocent of any crime at all. The evidence of criminality is obvious."

The case continues.