Six more members of a gang who sold large quantities of cocaine and cannabis to addicts for more than two years in a "well planned and profitable" conspiracy were locked up today.
Kane Doherty, Tom Rigby, William Gardiner, James Nixon, David Taylor and Stuart Stirling were active participants in the operation which saw the Class A and B drugs flooded throughout Sefton.
They were part of the "High Parkers" organised crime gang, mainly based in Southport, who used two "graft" phones to send out "flare" text messages to customers, advertising their product, often given elaborate names including "Guava Dawg", "Meringue Cake" and "Lemon Cherry Late."
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At the top of the organisation was leader Nathan Ball, jailed for 12 years on Monday, and James Gelling, who was handed eight years.
Gelling killed a dad-of-two in Southport in 2019, who he attacked as he made his way home from watching Liverpool's Champions League win.
The "High Parkers" sent out batch texts over a period of 843 days, on a well-known phone number which was usually in operation for 17 hours a day.
On average, more than 500 communications were sent out every day, with a total of 309,965 communications in and out during the 28 month operation.
Over the last three days, 15 members of the gang were sentenced to a total of over 110 years in prison for conspiracy to supply drugs.
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Arrests were made and warrants carried out in October last year when three kilos of MDMA and two kilos of amphetamines were recovered at addresses in Bootle and North Wales.
Ball ran the illegal trade, described as a "24/7 operation" which involved at the very least 5.25kg of cocaine, but which Judge Garrett Byrne reminded would have been far more.
The police operation physically seized 370 street deal/£10 wraps of cocaine.
The conspirators were also “short-changing” customers in the sense that wraps were short of 1g weight.
Today, six more accomplices were sent to jail with their combined sentences totalling 36 years and 10 months, with three more to be sentenced at a later date.
This morning, 47-year-old James Nixon, of Old School Close, Banks was sentenced to six years and eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
Tom Rigby. 28, of Bull Cop, Formby was sentenced to nine years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs.
Kane Doherty, 25, of Kensington Road, Southport, was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs
Philip Taylor, 36, of Station Road, Banks, was sentenced to four years and eight months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs
Stuart Stirling, 27, of no fixed address, was sentenced to two years and six months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs
Will Gardiner, 25, of Cheyne Close, Blundellsands was sentenced to six years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A and B drugs and also possession of a stun gun, which was recovered in December 2019.
Cara Wilding, 23, of Hollins Court, The Larches, Hawarden, North Wales, 23-year-old Lee McChrystal-Cole of Pighue Lane, Wavertree, and 21-year-old Daniel Crompton of no fixed address, will be sentenced at a later date.
Arlie Bailey, 19, of Knowsley Road, Southport, and 25-year-old Brenden Gillam, of no fixed address, will also be sentenced at a later date after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.
Barrister Arthur Gibson, for Rigby, said his client had been "stupid" and his purpose had been to "make money" but who had now "lost everything."
He added: "He tells me he intends to put this type of behaviour behind him and go to college to gain qualifications."
David Toal, for Doherty, said his client was in daily contact with his mum and grandmother, and been in custody since last October, describing how he had once been subject to a total 24 hour lockdown in his cell for a period of 20 days due to the Covid outbreak.
"It made detention at that time very onerous and stressful," he added.
Gardiner's lawyer said his client used to live in the Bootle area, but moved to Southport where he came across his colleagues and soon ran up a drugs debt to them.
Pressure was put on him to sell drugs, it was heard, and "matters came to a head on December 3, 2019," when he telephoned police himself as he had "reached rock bottom", "living in squalid conditions and was drug and alcohol defendant."
Detective Inspector Catherine Walsh, of Merseyside Police, said: “This sentencing marks the end of an extensive investigation which has dismantled this extremely harmful OCG, and I’m sure the communities of Southport and beyond share our satisfaction that these people have been removed from the streets.
“They will be unable to spread their misery any longer. Drug supply and associated violent crime ruins the lives of countless people, and those sentenced have also thrown away their own futures by getting involved. Hopefully some of those jailed today will reflect upon the risks, the harm, and their punishments, and change their ways.
"Serious and organised crime remains a priority for Merseyside Police, and we will continue to take positive action against those who blight our communities. Information from the public is vital and we will continue to act on all that we receive.
"We will continue to work tirelessly to remove drug dealers from our streets and provide our communities with a safe place to live, work and visit. My message to those engaged in organised crime is clear: we know who you are, we can see where you are operating, and we will come knocking."
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