Police have warned drug dealers they are in the firing line after a gang who flooded Blackpool with class A drugs were jailed for a total of 66 years.
The organised crime gang known to drug users in Blackpool as 'Scouse Macca' were responsible for 18,000 separate deals in less than six months.
Members of the gang were responsible for supplying heroin and crack cocaine within Blackpool.
The gang was brought down by Operation Kaleidoscope which ran from the August to December 2015.
In less than six months Lancashire Police were able to work out how 'Scouse Macca' supplied their customers through the use of a single main telephone number that users would associate with the group and call to order drugs.
During the course of the operation the mobile phone spent the vast majority of its time in Liverpool.
After placing an order for drugs through the ‘Macca’ number the buyer would be directed to a location to meet with the ‘runner’ who would then supply them with drugs.
A conservative estimate, cited during the sentencing proceedings, was that the gang carried out 18,000 deals during the 144-day operation with the ‘Macca’ phone receiving on average of 357 calls a day to buy drugs.
HOW DID IT WORK?
Main gang member John Paul Hodson was the controller of and the person in possession of the ‘Macca’ phone. He was jailed for nine years.
The investigation also showed that Trevor Pollard was the right hand man of Hodson and the courier of drugs and cash between Liverpool and Blackpool and that at times he would be in possession of the ‘Macca’ phone. Pollard was given eight years plus another year for offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act .
The ‘Macca’ phone would accept and make an enormously high volume of phone calls throughout each day.
The process the gang would use is that the ‘Macca’ phone would receive phone calls from customers ordering drugs and a call would then be made to the gang's middle man based in Blackpool.
The middle man would then contact a runner who in turn would meet with the customer and deal drugs to them in return for cash.
The operation identified that control of the runners in the Blackpool area was facilitated by a middleman, this middleman was Ben Fraser who originated from the Merseyside area. Fraser would ‘sit off’ at various addresses and direct runners either via telephone or in person from the address he was occupying.
The gang used numerous ‘runners’, mainly locals and on occasions the ‘runners’ would use drivers to transport them around so they could meet their customers.
The operation also identified that the gang used a ‘safe house’ in Cheltenham Road, Blackpool.
This was the home address of Terrence Pollard. The cash was collected and stored here and when the drugs were brought over from Liverpool by Hodson and Trevor Pollard, they would initially be stored here. Ben Fraser was seen to visit this address regularly to drop off cash and restock with drugs that he would then pass onto the ‘runner’ to supply.
HOW WAS THE GANG BROUGHT DOWN?
The operation concluded on December 16, 2015, with numerous search warrants being conducted in Lancashire and Liverpool.
At the home address of Hodson some 308 individual wraps of heroin was recovered along with cash, phones and other items. These drugs were packaged into ‘street’ deals and were ready to be taken back to Blackpool where the gang would have supplied them onto our streets in Blackpool.
Sixteen people were charged with conspiring together to supply crack cocaine and heroin in Blackpool between the August 1, 2015, to the December 16, 2015. Eleven of those pleaded guilty at Preston Crown Court and five pleaded not guilty.
The trial went ahead in February at Preston Crown Court and lasted four weeks. Four out of the five defendants were convicted of Conspiracy to Supply class A drugs.
'WE'RE COMING TO GET YOU'
Det Chief Insp Becky Smith, of Blackpool CID, said: “I am really pleased with the sentences which follow a long and complex investigation into this gang and its activities.
“This operation has dismantled a gang responsible for the supply of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of Class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine, into Blackpool. Their activities brought misery to those addicted to drugs and their loved ones.
“That these people have now been removed from our neighbourhoods is down to the determination and professionalism of the staff of Lancashire Constabulary in pursuing and bringing to justice organised criminals who blight our communities.
“Whilst this investigation refers to activity over 12 months ago, this remains a real priority for both us and our partners who are working closely together to tackle organised criminality.
“I ask the public for their continued support in reporting information so that 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 the courts.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said, "This is a great example of the excellent work being done by Lancashire officers to keep drugs off our streets and out of our communities. These people were responsible for bringing a huge supply of class A drugs into the Blackpool area.
"This operation has led to 15 dangerous drug dealers being locked up for a total of 66 years. I hope this sends a clear message to those who are getting involved in drug crime that the police have the resources, skills and determination to crack organisations like this and bring their members to justice.
"The public should be re-assured that this type of high level investigation work is taking place. While it is not always visible it is happening and achieving real results like those we have seen in court today. I want to pay tribute to the hard work and determination of Lancashire investigators that have helped bring down this ring of dealers."
John Paul Hodson, 32, of Marmion Avenue, Liverpool. was head of the 'Scouse Macca' gang. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and was jailed for nine years.
Antonia Coughlin, 31, of Marmion Avenue, Liverpool. was Hodson’s partner. She pleaded guilty to allowing premises to be used for the supply of heroin and crack cocaine and was given a 20 month suspended sentence.
Trevor Pollard, 34, last known address Butleigh Road, Liverpool. was a principal gang member. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and proceeds of crime act offences and was sentenced to Eight years plus one year to be served consecutively.
Ben Fraser, 34, last known address Bishop Road, Liverpool was the gang's middle man in Blackpool. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and was given. seven years.
Terence Pollard, 61. was the owner of the Cheltenham Road safe house. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and was given seven and a half years.
Ryan Jones, 20, last known address Bolton Road, Westhoughton, was one of the gang's runners. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and was sentenced four years and four months.
Stuart Pothecary, 35, last known address Boscombe Road, Blackpool, was another of the gang's runners. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and was sentenced to four years six months.
George Findlay, 36, formerly of Cookson Street, Blackpool was also a runner runner. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and given four years six months.
Christopher Arrandale, 36, last known address Fisher Street, Blackpool was part of the runner network. He pleaded guilty to supplying heroin and crack cocaine and was sentenced to 30 months
Alan Sprague, 36, last known address Knowle Avenue, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin as one of the gang's runners. He was given two years 11 months.
Daniel Sampson, 20, last known address Osborne Road, Blackpool was a runner for the gang. He was convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and sentenced to three years 10 months.
Susan Yates, 47, last known address Foxhall Road, Blackpool was a runner. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.Yates failed to appear and a warrant issued for her arrest.
Steven Duxbury, 31, last known address McCormack Avenue, St Helens was also a runner. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine and was given three years two months.
Martin Corallo, 29, last known address Cheltenham Road, Blackpool was a driver for the gang. He was sentenced to two years having pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.
Wayne Bromley, 31, last known address King Edward Avenue, Blackpool was the other driver. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack cocaine and was given five years eight months.