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PCC praises Force after major drug conspiracy sentencing

Merseyside / December 09

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has today praised the Force after a major investigation which saw 20 people sentenced to more than 192 years behind bars for a drugs supply conspiracy.

The sentencing follows an extensive investigation by the Matrix Serious Organised Crime team into the supply of controlled drugs (heroin).

During the investigation on five separate occasions detectives seized heroin (six kilos in total) and eight kilos of adulterant withan estimated street value of between £840,000 and £1.4m.

One of the five seizures was at Lidderdale Road (the home of Carl Smyth) where officers recovered heroin and adulterants with an estimated street value of between £600,000 and £1m).

Jane Kennedy said: “I applaud Merseyside Police, supported by officers in Gwent, Devon and Cornwall and Police Scotland, on another well-executed investigation which has stopped large amounts of Class A drugs reaching the streets, not just here in Merseyside but across England, Scotland and Wales.

“These organised crime groups don’t care about the misery and fear they bring to our communities. They profit from other people’s suffering and misfortune and their activities are a blight on our neighbourhoods.

“This case is yet another example of the commitment and dedication of our police service to put a stop to the activities of these gangs and put those people who are involved in serious and organised crime behind bars for a long time.

“I congratulate everyone who was involved in this impressive operation and helped to bring these serious criminal to justice. I would also like to thank the members of those communities who came forward and spoke up. I hope these sentences will give other people the confidence to contact the police if they have information that could help to make our streets safer.”

Detective Superintendent Lee Turner, said: "Twenty one people have been sentenced today for their part in a conspiracy to supply drugs in Merseyside, Scotland, Devon and Cornwall and South Wales. Amongst those sentenced were four people from Newport in South Wales, three people from Devon and Cornwall and four people from Scotland, who had links to an organised crime group on Merseyside which was distributing drugs around the country.

"Organised crime groups like this, who deal in the wholesale supply and distribution of controlled drugs, don’t care about the impact that supply of drugs has in our communities. But I would like to reassure the decent members of our communities that Merseyside Police is committed to tackling the supply of drugs and we will continue to proactively tackle criminal gangs who think nothing of flooding the streets with dangerous drugs in order to profit from other people's misery. And as today's sentencing shows our investigations have no borders and we will look to bring all those involved to court regardless of where they live."

Det Supt Turner added: "The individuals based on Merseyside expanded their criminal enterprise by setting up a drug supply network in Scotland, Wales and Devon and Cornwall.

"The message is clear - we are relentless in our pursuit of those involved in serious organised crime and will continue to do all we can to put our communities first and remove the threat, risk and harm these individuals bring to our streets.

“I want to take this opportunity to reassure residents that when we receive information about drug related crime and gun crime we will act. In relation to drug dealing, we often have to carry out an extensive operation, which can take some months, to gather evidence to ensure that when we get those involved to court the only option available is a prison sentence.

“But I want to reassure our communities that Merseyside Police is relentless in its pursuit of those involved in serious and organised crime and we will do all we can to find those involved and put them before the courts to keep our communities safe.

“But we cannot do this without the public. We rely on our communities to tell us when there are criminal issues in their area so that we can take positive action and protect our communities. Any information supplied to us in relation to serious and organised crime will be acted upon.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the detectives involved in investigating this complex and far reaching drugs conspiracy, their tenacity has led to the justice that has been served today. I would also like to thank the officers in Gwent, Devon and Cornwall and Police Scotland, who supported our officers during the investigation, prosecuting barrister Ian Unsworth and the Crown Prosecution Service for all their hard work.”

East Gwent Detective Inspector Justin O’Keeffe said: ‘It is very pleasing to see that those who have chosen to engage in this type of criminality, have been convicted of these serious offences and will now suffer the consequences.

“It is through the combined efforts of police forces and other law enforcement agencies across the country that we will continue to actively identify and bring justice upon these criminals.

“We hope this gives out the message that we are committed to tackling this issue which brings such misery to our communities.”

Detective Superintendent of Devon and Cornwall police Ken Lamont said: “This Operation centred on the main suspect Mervyn Hyde who was involved in the supply of Class A drugs across North & West Devon.

“The operation was able to establish a very strong link with Merseyside and an effective liaison and working relationship with their ‘Matrix’ team enabled this wider conspiracy to be established which is I believe reflected in the evidence secured and the extent of the sentences that have been passed.”

Those sentenced for conspiracy to supply heroin are:

  • Thomas Burns, 33 years, of Albany Road, Old Swan, is considered was considered to be Lee Halpin's "right hand man" and he took a hands on role in organising the supply of drugs following the arrests of Halpin, Worral and Carl Smyth. He recruited his friend and trusted associate Paul Roberts into the crime group as a courier. He was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years.
  • Paul Fleming, 51 years, of Markfield Road, Bootle, was described as a prolific courier of heroin. He made 29 trips to Scotland, South Wales and Devon and Cornwall between 25 October 2014 and 21 April 2015. He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years.
  • Lee Halpin, 30 years, of St Nicholas Road, Prescot, was at the centre of the conspiracy with Andrew Worrall and Carl Smyth. Halpin along with Worrall controlled the drugs factory on Lidderdale Road. The three controlled a number of drugs couriers and were in direct contact with the other defendants from South Wales, Devon and Scotland. He was sentenced to eight years.
  • Andrew Worrall, 30 years, of Capesthorne Close, Widnes, was at the centre of the conspiracy with Andrew Worrall and Carl Smyth. The three controlled a number of drugs couriers and were in direct contact with the other defendants from South Wales, Devon and Scotland. He was sentenced to eight years four months.
  • Barry McLoughlin, 34 years, of Aigburth Road, Aigburth, was one of the men responsible for supplying heroin into the crime group. and he will be sentenced at a later date after pleading guilty.
  • Stephen Phillips, 47 years, of Cremorne Hey, Stockbridge Village, had a leading role in the drugs conspiracy, although it was accepted that his involvement in supplying high purity heroin into the crime group only began at a later stage of the investigation. He was sentenced to eight years four months.
  • Paul Roberts, 51 years, of Thomas Lane, Broad Green, was described as a courier, but he did not operate on the same scale as Graeme Testrow, or Paul Fleming. He also accompanied others on trips. He was sentenced to nine years two months.
  • Anthony Smith, 36 years, of Chelsea Road, Litherland, was a couriers assistant. He accompanied Carl Smyth in the delivery of heroin and did not operate at the same scale as Graeme Testrow, or Paul Fleming. He was sentenced to seven years eight months.
  • Carl Smyth, 39 years, of Hartland Road, Norris Green, was at the centre of the conspiracy with Lee Halpin and Andrew Worrall. Smyth along with Lee Halpin controlled the drugs factory on Lidderdale Road. The three controlled a number of drugs couriers and were in direct contact with the other defendants from South Wales, Devon and Scotland. He was sentenced to seven years eight months.
  • Edward Smyth, 40 years, of Bolden Close, Bootle, is the brother of Carl Smyth, he sorted out all of the drug dealing transactions whilst Halpin, Worrall and Carl Smyth were in prison. He was sentenced to 14 years.
  • Graeme Testrow, 28 years, of Ennismore Road, Old Swan, was a prolific courier of heroin and he made 44 trips to Newport, Devon and Cornwall and Scotland between 14 June 2016 and 15 November 2016. He was sentenced to four years seven months.
  • Shafiq Ahmed, 26 years, of Llanvair Road, Newport, "headed up" a second heroin supply group in Newport, South Wales and received kilo quantities of heroin on a weekly basis. He was in direct contact with was in direct contact with a number of members of the Merseyside group. He was sentenced to nine years five months.
  • Nicholas Goddard, 36 years, of Chepstow Road, Newport, headed up a heroin supply operation in Newport, South Wales. He received kilo quantities of heroin on a weekly basis and was in direct contact with a number of members of the Merseyside group. He was sentenced to 13 years.
  • James Hawes, 39 years, from Howe Circle, Newport, was described as Nicholas Goddard's right hand man and took deliveries of heroin and was in direct contact with a number of members of the Merseyside group. He was sentenced to eight years.
  • Jamaal Swaby, 22 years, from Chepstow Road, Newport, along with Shafiq Ahmed, he "headed up" a second heroin supply group in Newport, South Wales and received kilo quantities of heroin on a weekly basis. He was in direct contact with was in direct contact with a number of members of the Merseyside group. He was sentenced to 11 years six months.
  • Mervin Hyde, 49 years, of Russell Court, Tavistock, Devon, headed up a heroin supply operation in South West England with Beth Flower. They received kilos of heroin on a weekly basis and were in direct contact with Lee Halpin and Andrew Worrall. He was sentenced to 11 years 
  • Beth Flower, 29 years, of Russell Court, Tavistock, Devon, headed up a heroin supply operation in South West England with Mervin Hide. They received kilos of heroin on a weekly basis and were in direct contact with Lee Halpin and Andrew Worrall. She was sentenced to nine years.
  • Jason Fletcher, 47 years, of Treryn Close, Devon, was a courier for Mervin Hyde. He was sentenced to eight years.
  • William Alexander Williamson, 32 years, of Glengarry Road, Perth, Scotland, headed up a heroin supply group in the Perth area of Scotland with his father, John Williamson. He will be sentenced at a later date.
  • ​John Alexander Williamson, 52 years, of Tulloch Terrace, Perth, Scotland, headed up a heroin supply group in the Perth area of Scotland with his son William Williamson. They received kilo quantities of heroin on a daily basis and were in telephone contact with a number of members of the Liverpool group. He was sentenced to 12 years.
  • Candice Gorman, 32 years, of Millside Gardens, Kilwinning, Scotland, headed up a heroin supply operation in the Irvine area of Scotland. She received kilos of heroin on a weekly basis and was in direct contact with the Merseyside group, and was closely connected to Lee Halpin. She was sentenced to 13 years
  • Donald Campbell, 47 years, of Hayocks Road, Stevenston, Scotland, was described as Candice Gorman's right hand man and had direct contact with the Merseyside defendants. He was sentenced to eight years eight months.