A 22-year-old drug dealer from Atherton is now behind bars.

He has been sentenced to three years and nine months for his role in the supply of drugs.

Lewis Grady, of Samuel Street, was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court after pleading guilty to three counts of possession with intent to supply cocaine, heroin, and cannabis and two counts of being concerned in the supply of cocaine and heroin.

In January last year, GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Group County Lines Unit started an investigation into the supply of class A drugs, which involved investigating a known drugs line operating in the Leigh area selling crack cocaine and heroin involving Grady.

In a separate unrelated incident on Friday, April 7 of last year, police received a call reporting drug dealing occurring on Orchard Lane in Leigh.

Officers attended the scene and located a man approaching a group of people on his bicycle, which was Grady.

Grady was stopped and spoken to and then stop searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During the stop search, a large quantity of white and brown powder along with cannabis was found on his person individually wrapped along with a large quantity of cash.

Grady was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and was later interviewed about the matter and provided a ‘no comment’ interview.

Following Grady’s arrest, a house search was carried out at his home address during which more drugs and cash were found along with drug paraphernalia.

Grady was released under investigation pending forensic and phone enquiries.

On Thursday, October 12, warrants were conducted at addresses associated to Grady by the Force County Lines Team.

Despite Grady not being present, a search of the addresses identified several of his personal belongings, including a passport and further class A drugs - crack cocaine and cash to the value of £6,318.

GMP continued to seek Grady and on Monday, December 4, he handed himself into police at Ashton-under-Lyne Police Station, where he was interviewed and later remanded into custody.

A spokesperson for GMP’s Force County Lines Team said: “Thanks to our team’s diligent work we have secured a lengthy sentence for a key player in a drugs line harming members of the community and he will now be spending a considerable amount of time behind bars.

"From phone downloads, Grady sent footage to his girlfriend explaining that he couldn’t come home as he was too busy working long hours ‘bagging up’ drugs with other younger members of the drugs line.

“Drugs supply and organised crime has been blighting the community of Wigan and its surrounding areas for quite some time now and we’re continuing to be relentless in tackling serious and organised crime.”

A county line is the advertisement of illegal drugs via a mobile phone, known as a ‘graft line’, the drugs are then moved by dealers from one area to another as well as to other places across the country.

The organised crime groups will often exploit children to transport the drugs and money profited from its supply. The exploitation often includes using the homes of vulnerable adults as a base to store and deal the drugs from – a term known as cuckooing.

According to Greater Manchester Police, here are signs of child criminal exploitation to look out for: 

  • Unexplained gifts, money and new expensive clothes or accessories.
  • Increased missing from home episodes.
  • New friendship groups.
  • Receiving excessive calls or messages from ‘new friends’.
  • Carrying weapons and may have a few mobile phones.
  • Secretive or withdrawn from family and/or friends.
  • Getting picked up or dropped off by unknown people.
  • Not seeing the person who lives there, and a clear change in behaviour and routine.
  • Increase in visitors or cars to a house or flat at unsociable hours.
  • Signs of drug use such as strange smells coming from the property.
  • Windows covered or curtains closed all the time.
  • People talking on phones outside the address.

If you have information relating to organised crime – no matter how small – contact either Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or call GMP on 101.

Below are services available to seek help and support:

  • Catch 22 is a specialist support and rescue service for young people and their families who are criminally exploited through county lines.
  • Safecall offers a safe space for people affected by exploitation to talk about their experiences in confidence and can also provide reassurance, support, and help formulate a plan via their dedicated service.
  • Young people can contact Crimestoppers via Fearless to access non-judgemental information and advice.
  • The National Crime Agency County Lines website explains more about county lines and indicators of exploitation in your area.
  • The Safeguarding Network have helpful tips for understanding indicators of exploitation and what may make a young person more vulnerable to being exploited.