Detectives from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) are welcoming the sentencing of 10 men and one women to a total of 61 years and nine months in prison following two linked operations into the large-scale production of amphetamines.
Working alongside the National Crime Agency (NCA), the investigation centred around the creation of two illicit drug laboratories by criminals operating across the north of England.
The sentencing comes at the conclusion of two trials in March and April, concluding at Preston Crown Court today, Thursday 4 July 2019.
On Thursday 6 June 2018, following an extensive operation, officers carried out a warrant at Unit 11, Victoria Mill, Boot Street, Earby, Lancashire and discovered an industrial scale amphetamine laboratory, linked to an organised crime group (OCG) from across the north of England. The factory had the potential to manufacture hundreds of kilos of Class B Amphetamines at a time.
43-year-old Paul Marley of Calver Place, Glossop, Derbyshire and other OCG members were linked to this unit, as well as an address in Grenville Terrace, Ashton-Under-Lyne, from which Class A and B drugs (cocaine and amphetamine) were stored and distributed.
On Tuesday, 7 August 2018, a search warrant was carried out at Grenville Terrace, leading to the discovery of a second amphetamine laboratory.
Following a trial, the following sentences were handed out:
4 years 10 months - 55-year-old Stuart Mason of Green Lane, Wakefield, West Yorkshire pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine
5 years 11 months - 60-year-old William Eatch of Foxhill Road, Carlton, Nottingham pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine and possession of cannabis
7 years - 48-year-old Andrew Hayes of Fincham Road, Dovecot, Merseyside was found guilty of conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine following trial
20 months, suspended for two years - 55-year-old David Heys of Wheatley Road, Burnley, Lancashire pleaded guilty to participating in the criminal activities of an organised crime group
9 years - 43-year-old Paul Marley of Calver Place, Glossop, Derbyshire pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine; conspiracy to supply Class A cocaine; conspiracy to supply Class B cannabis; possession of Class B cannabis; and disqualified driving
6 years 9 months - 66-year-old Malcolm Gee of Grenville Terrace in Ashton-Under-Lyne pleaded guilty to conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine; production of Class B cannabis; possession of Class A cocaine; possession of criminal property - cash and possession of Class B cannabis
4 years 10 months - 45-year-old Maxine Shaw of Colshaw Road, Wythenshawe, Greater Manchester was pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B Amphetamine and possession with intent to supply Class B Ketamine. She also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B cannabis and conspiracy to produce amphetamine
4 years 11 months - 67-year-old Michael Duggan of Raven Terrace, Dukinfield, Greater Manchester was found guilty of conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine
5 years 6 months - 39-year-old Peter Williamson of Turnbrook Avenue, Preston was found guilty of conspiracy to produce Class B amphetamine and pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis with intent to supply
4 years and 4 months – 24-year-old Adam Lamb from Liverpool pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine and heroin.
20 months – 39-year-old Paul Forshaw of Cumberland Road, Rochdale pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis, possession of cannabis, possession with intent to supply amphetamine, possession with intent to supply cocaine.
Detective Inspector Jason Pye said: "This type of operation can be extremely lucrative to organised crime groups, and it is pleasing to see their labs and criminal careers dismantled. Amphetamine is a drug which can have catastrophic consequences for users, not to mention the damaging environmental effects and massive risks that these volatile chemicals have on the environment and neighbouring properties. Nobody wants to live close to such a potential death trap.
"This was a complex investigation. The setting up of these illicit labs and manufacturing of such drugs needs specialist knowledge and coordination by sophisticated and organised criminals, who are now removed from the streets.
"NWROCU exists to tackle and take down the most serious, hardened and organised criminals who pose a significant threat to our communities, and these men and women fit the bill.
"We cannot do this work alone and are grateful for our colleagues at NCA and the other police forces involved, for assisting and supporting us during this wide-ranging and ongoing investigation.
"Our message to those involved in drug supply is that you cannot escape justice and there are no borders, we will work with other forces to relentlessly pursue those profiting from serious organised crime.
“I am happy to see that these criminals will now spend a considerable amount of time behind bars and we have stopped a significant operation which was flooding the streets of the UK with Class A and B controlled drugs.
"We will work with our communities to improve the quality of life for decent, law-abiding people and I would urge people to keep helping us do that by reporting any drug dealing or gun crime to the police or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."