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2 private hire drivers who acted as couriers for Wirral drugs gang sentenced to jail


Image credit: Merseyside Police

Five people, including two private hire drivers, have been jailed for more than 30 years for drug supply offences in Wirral. Merseyside Police have said they welcome the sentencing of five members of an organised crime group to a total of more than 30 years, following a covert investigation targeting the supply of Class A drugs in Wirral.

In an operation which began in 2019, detectives identified suspects responsible for the distribution of large amounts of Class A drugs in Eastham, Bebbington and Birkenhead. On Thursday 25 June 2020, officers attended seven addresses across Wirral and seized more than 2kg of cocaine, £5,000 cash, Class B drugs, jewellery and designer clothes. Following these warrants, seven people were arrested and taken into custody. Six of these individuals were later charged.

A further suspect voluntarily attended interview in August 2020 and was later charged. Five people were jailed on Thursday 8 July, at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to drugs supply offences earlier this year. Liam Bradley, 30, of Temple Road, Prenton, who played a leading role in the OCG, organising the preparation, storage and transportation of drugs, was sentenced to 10 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession with intent to supply cocaine. Thomas Willis, 29, who according to the Liverpool Echo was a private hire driver, was employed as a trusted courier by the OCG and was sentenced to 6 years 6 months for conspiracy to supply cocaine and possession with intent to supply cocaine. Gary Andrews, 47, of Priory Wharf, Birkenhead was involved in the distribution of drugs. He was sentenced to 3 years for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, possession of amphetamine and being concerned in the supply of cocaine

Image credit: Merseyside Police

Stephanie Jones, 39, of New Ferry Road, New Ferry was also involved in the distribution of drugs. She was sentenced to 2 years 6 months for possession with intent to supply Class A drugs, and being concerned in the supply of cocaine. Gary Clare, 59, who was also reportedly a private hire driver, was employed as a courier for the OCG, and sentenced to eight years four months for possession of cannabis and being concerned in the supply of cocaine. Stacey Smyth, 38, of Parkside Road, Poulton and Gary Clare’s partner, received a 12 month community order with 10 days rehabilitation and standard surcharge. Mark Fitzpatrick, 42, of Borough Road, Birkenhead will be sentenced on Monday, 12 July. Commenting on the sentencing, Detective Inspector Paul McVeigh said: "Today's results show that we at Merseyside Police will leave no stone unturned in pursuing individuals who involve themselves in serious organised crime. “The individuals put behind bars are thankfully are now unable to bring drugs and misery to our communities across the Wirral and beyond. “The key to any successes we have in finding such criminals is information from our communities. It is often information from a member of the public that can kick start an investigation so I would urge anyone with information to keep coming forward, either directly to police or through the charity Crimestoppers, which is completely independent of police. “No-one should have to put up with drug dealing in their area and the associated crime it attracts. We will continue to work tirelessly to remove drug dealers from our streets and provide our law abiding communities with a safe place to live, work and visit.”

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