Drugs gang busted after jobless Thornton man enjoyed 'lavish holidays and expensive dental work'

Police have busted a drugs gang operating in Blackpool
Police have busted a drugs gang operating in Blackpool

A jobless Thornton man who enjoyed lavish holidays and spent thousands on dental work has been jailed after being caught dealing class A drugs.

James Black was targeted by Lancashire Police's Operation Leviathan - an investigation into the supply and trafficking of heroin, crack cocaine, and cannabis - after his extravagant lifestyle betrayed his unemployed status.

Despite having no legitimate income, he holidayed in Turkey and Tenerife, Lancashire Police said, while also paying for expensive work on his teeth.

The 32-year-old, of Kildare Avenue, was caught with three kilos of cannabis and two mobile phones after being stopped on the motorway last September, while a search of his home turned up heroin and crack cocaine worth more than £18,000, along with drugs paraphernalia and numerous mobile phones.

He was jailed for six years and eight months for two drug supply offences, money laundering, and for possessing amphetamine.

Three other men were also sentenced following the investigation, which started last March and looked into drugs coming from Liverpool and being peddled on the street of Blackpool.

Black, who regularly changed phones and hire cars to try and avoid being caught, supplied cannabis to Jamie Perkes, who then kept it at the home of Mark Stewart, police said.

Perkes, 39, formerly of Whinfield Avenue, Fleetwood, was jailed for nine months for conspiracy to supply class B drugs, and money laundering.

Stewart, 35, of Duddon Avenue, also in Fleetwood, was given a 12 month suspended sentence for possession with intent to supply class B drug cannabis.

Black's own dealer, Paul Riley, 35, of Parbrook Close, Liverpool, was jailed for seven years and four months for two drug supply offences.

All four men pleaded guilty when they appeared at Preston Crown Court on Friday, January 26.

Det Ch Insp Becky Smith said: "I am really pleased with the sentences, which follow a long and complex investigation into this criminal gang and its activities - causing misery to those addicted to drugs and their loved ones.

"This police work remains a real priority for both us and our partners, who are working closely together to tackle organised criminality and taking these gangs off our streets.

"I ask the public for their continued support in reporting information so we can continue to keep our neighbourhoods safe and free from the activities of these gangs.

"Lastly, my message to those engaged in this sort of criminal behaviour is that we will not tolerate it in Lancashire and if you are involved in that type of activity, we will find you and put you before my courts."