THE alleged ringleader of a drug gang lived an expensive lifestyle spending hundreds of thousands of pounds at casinos, a court heard.

Gary Knox, who is alleged to have been involved in a drug dealing operation run from a unit in Outwood Industrial Estate, Radcliffe, had access to a vast amount of cash, a jury at Minshull Crown Court, Manchester, was told.

Neil Fryman, prosecuting, told the court that Knox was known to a number of casinos and betting shops in Bolton.

The court heard that he “dropped” — exchanging cash for chips — £714,000 at the Mint Casino and £29,000 at the Grosvenor Casino, both in Bolton.

The jury was also told that in September, 2007, over a period of a few days, Knox paid five cash payments totalling £52,000 for a black Range Rover Sports with a personalised number plate KN07 OXY.

Mr Simon said: “He has got access to a vast amount of cash. Where has he got it from? The prosecution say from drug dealing.

“In relation to betting and using casinos, he does not do that well, in terms of returns.

“You may feel that one motive of drug dealing is to make profit, and one of the things he uses that profit on is betting.

“As well as betting big-time, he likes expensive cars.”

Gary Knox, aged 34, of Seathwaite Road, Farnworth, denies two counts of conspiracy to supply drugs, two counts of perverting the course of justice, and conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

Six other defendants all deny conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

They are Philip Meiring, aged 33, of Dickenson Street, Bolton; Gail Hadfield, age 27, of Stanley Road, Heaton; Francis Hunt, aged 41, of Spindlewood Road, Ince; Joanne Greaves, aged 37, of Whittle Grove, Bolton; Anthony Grainger, aged 33 of Chipping Road, Bury, and Jamie Stewart, aged 31, of Tiverton Walk, Bolton.

The case continues.