DRUG dealers who were a “thorn in the side of the community” are today waking up behind bars after a drugs ring was busted.
Police caught up with ringleader Stewart Garrett following a tip off from local residents.
Preston Crown Court heard how Garrett, 34, of Sandwell Avenue, Thornton, set up a network of associates – including a Blackpool mum-of-two – to deal cannabis, diazepam and cocaine across Fleetwood, Thornton and the resort.
The judge was then told how during a raid at Barry Perkes’ home on Kent Street in Fleetwood, police found 7.5g of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and 39 bottles of diazepam.
Officers later arrested Garrett after finding him with £1,000 in cash, drug-related text messages on his mobile phone and drugs hidden at his sister’s house.
The investigation also led police to mum-of-two Lindsay McGinley, 33, of Toronto Avenue, Bispham, who admitted being involved in the supply of cannabis and Stuart Brookes, 38, of Heathfield Road, Fleetwood, who pleaded guilty to possessing heroin and amphetamine.
Det Insp Neil Drummond, who led the investigation for Lancashire Police, said: “They were part of an organised crime group.
“Garrett was the instrumental person in the group and had a network of associates.
“Drugs were sourced to the leader and then distributed to other people in the group. They were clearly established in drug dealing activity.”
Garrett was sentenced to three years in jail after pleading guilty to possession of Class A drugs with intent to supply.
Perkes said he had let an acquaintance store cocaine at his property but admitted possession of Class C drugs with intent to supply. He was handed a 12-month jail sentence.
McGinley was handed an eight month jail term suspended for 12 months, ordered to do 80 hours of unpaid work and pay £100 costs while Brookes was given a curfew and ordered to pay £500 costs.
Insp Nigel Greenwood, from Fleetwood police, said: “Garrett and Perkes have been thorns in the side of the community for some time. Their custodial sentences show that drugs and drug dealing in our neighbourhoods will not be tolerated.”