Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Guilty verdict for organised crime gang members

(Updated): Three men have today (Wednesday 21st March) been found guilty of being involved in an organised crime gang’s cocaine supply chain which stretched across a Lancaster.

A further four people - two women and two men - have also been found guilty of laundering the profits of the gang’s drug dealing activity.

Their conviction comes as a result of Operation Bespoke, a lengthy police investigation into drug dealing and money laundering in Lancaster and the surrounding areas.

Sentencing will take place at Preston Crown Court on 14th May and is expected to last three days.

Warrants executed in late 2009 revealed cocaine, cutting agents, machines used to press the drugs and weapons – including guns, a taser, ammunition and machetes – were being kept at gang members’ homes.

Further investigation by officers led to raids being carried out in Lancaster and Morecambe on 13th July 2010, and 15 people were arrested and charged with a variety of offences relating to drug dealing and money laundering.

“Residents in Lancaster and Morecambe told us that their lives were being been blighted by the criminal activities of a small but organised group of criminals," commented Superintendent Andy Webster from Lancaster police. "We listened to residents and acted on their concerns about what had been going on in their communities.

"This has led to these people being arrested and put before the courts.”

Following a 14 week trial at Preston Crown Court, Anthony Diprose, 27, of Roeburn Drive, Morecambe was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs and a proceeds of crime offence. He had previously pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation.

Andrew Gunningham, 30, of Ryelands Road, Lancaster, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class b drugs. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class a drugs.

Brian Coulton, 20, of Tarnsyke Road, Lancaster, was found guilty of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Katie Noon, 24, of Austwick Road, Lancaster; Paul Noon, 30, also of Austwick Road, Lancaster; Rachel Lynch, 41, of Tarnbrook Road, Lancaster, and Paul Lynch, 45, also of Tarnbrook Road, Lancaster, were all found guilty of money laundering.

A number of the gang members had pleaded guilty to offences at an earlier stage of the court process.

Jason Diprose, 25, of Austwick Road, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class B drugs, conspiracy to supply class A drugs and fraud by false representation.

Kenneth Smith, 23, of Mainway, Lancaster, was found guilty of possession with intent to supply class A drugs. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

David Threlfall, 28, of Artle Place, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to class B drugs.
Aiden Higgins, 21, of Dee Road, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possession of heroin.
Liam Wiper, 24, of Euston Grove, Morecambe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

Liam Parkinson, 24, of Norfolk Street, Lancaster, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, possession with intent to supply heroin and possession of a taser gun.

A date for sentencing has yet to be set.

Supt Webster added: “Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling crime and disrupting organised crime groups.

“It is incredibly important that people continue to provide the police with information so that we can keep them safe and look for ways to prevent organised crime groups from operating in the future.”

Anyone with information about crime is asked to contact police on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The sentencing is a promising start and a good show of force, but I think that without continued police action, someone will simply pick up where Diprose left off.

Shame fromer Lancaster MP Ben Wallace was on TV last night spouting his view that it's better to condemn the police for not agreeing to get their pensions cut instead of supporting police concerns that cuts in force numbers are resulting in more of the kind of crime they worked hard to put a stop to in this case.