• Thu. Nov 30th, 2023

Dozens jailed as police clamp down on county lines gangs


Nov 10, 2023

Dozens of people have been jailed as part of a police operation targeting the county lines movement of drugs and weapons into Cheshire.


Cheshire Constabulary's Operation Apollo investigation was launched by the force's serious and organised crime unit (SOCU) in a bid to target County Lines from Merseyside and Greater Manchester from moving into the county. Since November 2022 the operation has resulted in 87 arrests with 28 people jailed for over 100 years for a variety of drug offences.

As well as the 28 convictions, 40 suspects are still to be dealt with by the courts, with most remanded in custody. The unit has seized more than £70,000 worth of class A drugs, over £35,000 in cash and a large haul of weapons. Thousands of pounds worth of luxury goods, including sports cars, designer clothing and jewellery were also seized.

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Detective Inspector Robert Balfour, from Cheshire Constabulary SOCU, said: “In the last 12 months, a dedicated team of detectives have focussed on pursuing individuals engaged in the supply and distribution of illegal drugs within Cheshire. Since the launch of Operation Apollo, we have worked tirelessly to target those who cause the most harm to our communities by dismantling county lines operating from within our borders and beyond.

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“With the continued support from within Cheshire Police, neighbouring forces and partners, we are well equipped to protect our communities and most vulnerable from the devastation brought forth by county line gangs. This coordinated approach has made a significant difference to the number of county lines operating in Cheshire and we will continue to relentlessly target all criminals involved."

DI Balfour added: "This operation has been paramount in disrupting dangerous offenders who believed they were operating their criminality under the radar. Be assured that our work is continuing, and we will use all resources available to us to crackdown on county lines."

The 28 convicted so far as part of Operation Apollo – Cheshire Constabulary's bid to dismantle county lines drug gangs.

Of the 28 people already convicted, several are from Merseyside, Warrington and Widnes. These include:

  • James Potter, 29, of Salvia Street, Fairfield – charged with two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (cocaine, heroin), produce controlled drug of Class B drugs (cannabis) and jailed for 32 months
  • Kyle Dickinson, 23, of Hollow Croft, Stockbridge Village – charged with PWITS crack cocaine, PWITS heroin and jailed for 31 months.
  • Gerard Flynn, 25, formerly of Barnsbury Road, Walton – charged with being concerned in supply of crack cocaine, concerned in supply of heroin and jailed for 40 months.
  • Lennon Lowry, 21, of Willmer Road, Tranmere – charged with being concerned in supply of crack cocaine, concerned in the supply of heroin and jailed for 44 months.
  • Alex Gannon, 21, of no fixed abode in Widnes – charged with 2 counts of possession of criminal property, two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drug – Other, PWITS crack cocaine, PWITS heroin, possession of cannabis and jailed for 40 months.
  • Amir Malik, 31, of Birchwood Boulevard, Warrington – charged with PWITS Cocaine, PWITS Heroin, dangerous driving and jailed for 5 years 6 months.
  • Ryan Daly, 27, of Honey Hall Road, Halewood – charged with being concerned in supply of cocaine, concerned in supply of ketamine, concerned in supply of cannabis and jailed for 4 years.
  • Lewis Johnson, 25, of Elizabeth Drive, Warrington – charged with being concerned in the supply crack cocaine, concerned in the supply of heroin, POCA, and jailed for 44 months
  • Callum Foran, 23, of Chiltern Road, Warrington – charged with PWITS crack cocaine, PWITS heroin, recalled to prison and jailed for 66 months.
  • Sam Evers, 27, of Clarence Street, Newton Le Willows – charged with being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine, being concerned in the supply of heroin and jailed for 27 months.

Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: "The results over the past year demonstrate Cheshire's determination to make the county a hostile environment for criminals involved in County Line drug activity and I'm incredibly proud of the work undertaken by Operation Apollo so far.

"However, the work doesn’t stop there and those involved in the distribution and sale of illegal Class A and B drugs should be warned that we are relentless in our pursuit of those who seek to commit crime in our communities."

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