9 members of multi-million pound drugs gang have their 'excessive' jail sentences cut

9 members of a multi-million pound drugs gang have their 'excessive' jail sentences cut

9 members of a multi-million pound drugs gang have their 'excessive' jail sentences cut

First published in News
Last updated

NINE members of an organised crime gang responsible for flooding the North West with drugs have had their jail terms cut on appeal.

Police seized £2.25 million worth of drugs — cannabis, mephedrone, cocaine and amphetamine — during a series of raids across the region, including one raid in Halliwell, where they found a dismantled cannabis factory.

The 22-strong gang were all handed tough sentences at Preston Crown Court in August 2013, after admitting a variety of offences.

But nine members — including ringleaders Peter Bowden, Craig Rooks and Gordon George Waters — have now had their sentences reduced by judges sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court.

The court heard the gang was arrested following a complex three-year investigation by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

The investigation, codenamed Sabine, uncovered a sophisticated criminal enterprise to import and distribute drugs which included smuggling mephedrone into the UK from China and cocaine from Holland.

The gang used methods such as ditching mobile phones and changing the vehicles they used to try to throw police off.

Police seized more than five kilos of cocaine with a street value of more than £550,000, mephedrone worth £1.8m, more than 15 kilos of amphetamine worth £150,000, and two kilos of skunk cannabis worth £25,000.

As well as the Halliwell cannabis farm, they also found drug-dealing paraphernalia after raiding two industrial units in Blackpool.

Lawyers for the nine gang members argued their jail terms were “too long” given their roles in the plot.

Reducing the sentences, Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Phillips and Judge Neil Ford QC, said the terms were “excessive”.

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