The year 2022 was like no other witnessed by the courts in Bolton.

Though as in any year the courts paid witness to crimes ranging from burglary to assaults, scaling to the heights of the drug trade and even murder, 2022 would bring a sight never before seen in Bolton, or in fact any court anywhere in Britain.

This came when barristers, in full wigs and gowns, took to the picket lines in a last-ditch attempt to shore up a justice system that in their eyes has been crumbling before their very eyes. For those who associated strikes with miners or dockers and preferred to image the law as a more cossetted profession, this came as quite a wake-up call.

The Bolton News: Barristers took strike action earlier this yearBarristers took strike action earlier this year (Image: Newsquest)

What follows is a look back at how the system they worked in functioned, or maybe didn't, over the past year and reminds us why barristers felt they had to go all out in its defence.  

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As 2022 rolled on, the courts continued much as they had before with trespassers, dangerous drivers and the like brought to the dock. But the case of Daniel Llewellyn, of Dingle Walk, Bolton, and Michael Allen, Bradford Street, Haulgh, in particular stoked public interest.

The Bolton News: The fight broke out on Bromwich Street, BoltonThe fight broke out on Bromwich Street, Bolton (Image: Danny Crompton)

They had been brought to court after a mass brawl on Bromwich Street the May before. As Llewellyn, 34, and Allen, 33, were brought to justice, with their opponents following not long after, political leaders asked what was behind the upsurge in crime Bolton had seen.

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February saw its share of drug dealers and violent criminals jailed. But arguable none had shaken his community like Andrew Cairns, of Rupert Street, Radcliffe, the dangerous driver who had killed 11-year-old Ruby Cropper nearly two years previously.

The Bolton News: Andrew Cairns was jailed earlier this yearAndrew Cairns was jailed earlier this year

The contrast between Cairns, 36, branded as "arrogant" by the judge for his conduct during the trial and his victim, who the court heard "brought kindness to all who knew her" could not have been starker.

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No fewer than 20 Bolton criminals were jailed over the course of March for crimes as varied as assault, rape and drug trafficking.

Michael Hill, 31, of Lodge View Caravan Site, Bolton, was jailed after a summer crime wave that saw him break into businesses across Bolton, represented a more immediate concern to the people of the borough.

The Bolton News:

Burglary would prove an ever-present concern as the year wore on, with businesses hard pressed family firms battered by lockdown on one side and the mounting cost-of-living crisis on the other hardly needing another reason to shut up shop.

READ MORE: Locked up in March: The faces of 20 criminals

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Burglary would continue to dominate the Bolton courts as the spring came around. But while burglary, like all crime, hits the very poorest the hardest in most cases Christopher Leigh, 45, of Longfield Road, Bolton, and Martin Maloney, 49, of Dunoon Drive, Bolton, would prove themselves to be exceptions to the rule.

The Bolton News: Christopher Leigh and Martin MaloneyChristopher Leigh and Martin Maloney (Image: GMP)

Their crime spree, plotted from Bolton, targeted at least 21 luxury homes across Cheshire. The pair believed the had hit upon the perfect crime before being ensnared in an undercover policing operation.

READ MORE: Locked up in April: Faces of 13 criminals

READ MORE: Burglars from Bolton thought they had discovered the 'perfect crime'


Even where the crown courts are concerned, some crimes stand out and test the endurance of those that deal with the aftermath.

So it was with Thomas Green, Sandham Walk, Great Lever, who was told he would most likely die in prison after a two week trial found him guilty of raping one child and sexually abusing another.

The Bolton News: Thomas Green is likely to die in prisonThomas Green is likely to die in prison (Image: GMP)

Standing convicted in the dock, the 84-year-old was told he had abused children to satisfy his own "perverse and selfish sexual gratification".

READ MORE: Locked up in May: The faces of 9 criminals brought to justice

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The abuse of hard drugs are a constant theme in the day-to-day life of the court. Listen to any defence counsel’s mitigation and it won’t be long before addiction to heroin, cocaine and even the habitual use of cannabis are raised.

Darren Lomax, 36, of Ashton Street, Little Lever, was one of those involved more deeply in the trade, forcing his clients to deliver cocaine and payments for him and even described as "the biggest blagger going" by members of his own family.

READ MORE: Locked up in June: The faces of 10 criminals brought to justice

READ MORE: 'Biggest blagger going' drug dealer used debts and threats to control clients


The more vulnerable any person might be in society- it follows that they are more likely to be vulnerable to crime. But as the courts saw in July even civic leaders are not immune.

The Bolton News: Noel Spencer when he was mayor in 2011 and Muhammad TehseenNoel Spencer when he was mayor in 2011 and Muhammad Tehseen (Image: GMP)

Bolton learned this when former councillor and mayor Noel Spencer, 83, was attacked and robbed after being followed home by Muhammad Tehseen, 31, of Cecilia Street, Bolton, after the robber had spotted him in a bank.

READ MORE: Locked up in July: The faces of 10 criminals

READ MORE: Thug jailed after brutal robbery of former Bolton mayor


Not all criminals terrorise entire communities, some are content to keep their crimes hidden away in domestic settings. So it was with Tyler Lowe, 28, of Montserrat Road, Johnson Fold, who was jailed after non-fatally strangling his partner.

Lowe was the first person in the country to be charged with the offence under a new law specifically designed to deal with people like him.

READ MORE: Locked up in August: The faces of seven Bolton criminals

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Again and again, when drug dealers brought to the dock the court will eventually hear how, often addicts themselves, street dealers are simply the front, used and manipulated by bigger players behind the scenes.

The Bolton News: Irtiza Bashir's lavish Bolton homesIrtiza Bashir's lavish Bolton homes

Irtiza Bashir, of Chorley New Road, Bolton, an apparently God-fearing businessman, who’s plot to import millions of pounds worth of hard drugs stretched across Bolton and Lancashire was exactly that. The 46-year-old was jailed for more than 20 years after his EncroChat messaging system was cracked by police detectives.

The Bolton News: Irtiza BashirIrtiza Bashir (Image: GMP)

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Not all crime waves need to be plotted at the highest level. Lee Burbidge, 39, of no fixed address, may not have been involved in any kind of sophisticated crime ring but he still threatened and injured innocent shopkeepers in a wave of supermarket thefts.

The Bolton News: Lee Burbidge stole from shops across BoltonLee Burbidge stole from shops across Bolton (Image: GMP)

As in many such cases, the court heard how Burbidge had struggled with drug addiction and had problems keeping to orders.

READ MORE: Locked up in October: The names and faces of seven criminals

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Yet another case of the drug trade interlocking with crimes all over Bolton came as the year drew to a close with Vladimir Dikovski, of Vickerman Street, Bolton. A 29-year-old man of no previous convictions, his life had deteriorated amid personal instability and drug use.

The Bolton News: Vladimir DikovskiVladimir Dikovski (Image: Greater Manchester Police)

But when he stole a grandmother’s handbag while carrying a knife "simply for protection" as his defence counsel said, the court decided to jail him.

READ MORE: Locked up in November: The names and faces of seven criminals

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Throughout most of the year, the case of Anthony George, 41, had worked its way through the courts.

The Bolton News: Anthony George was found guilty of murdering Tyrone WilliamsonAnthony George was found guilty of murdering Tyrone Williamson (Image: GMP)

Having pleaded not guilty in March to the murder of 25-year-old Tyrone Williamson on Battenberg Road last year, George was finally brought to trial this month. Convicted by a jury, George, of no fixed address, was sentenced to life in prison.

The Bolton News: Tyrone Williamson was just 25-years-old when he was fatally stabbedTyrone Williamson was just 25-years-old when he was fatally stabbed (Image: GMP)

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