Kirkby man jailed for County Lines drugs conspiracy

The remaining two defendants charged as part of a large scale Class A drugs conspiracy have been sentenced.

A total of 30 people were jailed for 151 years earlier this year following an investigation into the criminal use of firearms and County Lines drug dealing.

Warrants were executed on Merseyside and in Eastbourne at the culmination of the 12-month investigation, named Operation Casino.

One of those to be sentenced was 30-year-old Danny Hanley. During the course of the investigation, it was established that associates of Hanley were running their own drugs ‘grafts’ (drug lines) and a simultaneous investigation (Op Casino 2) was launched.

Op Casino 2 identified three county line ‘grafts’ in Morecambe, Plymouth and Torquay, and a Liverpool ‘graft’.

During the Op Casino 2 investigation, a sniper rifle and shotgun, which had been stolen during burglaries, and around 100 rounds of ammunition were recovered from a farmhouse in Kirkby used by the Liverpool gang. A quantity of Class A drugs was also seized from individuals and properties in Liverpool and Morecambe.

As part of Op Casino 2, Niall Crawford, 25, of Kirkby, appeared in court on Friday, 6 May.

He was sentenced to five and a half years for conspiracy to supply cocaine and a separate charge of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs from May 2019.

Colin Brown, 43, of Plymouth, was sentenced to 29 months for assisting an OCG.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Drew said,  “We know the destruction that drug dealing brings to our communities. Those involved in the supply of drugs and use of weapons have no regard for the lives they affect and the harm they can cause, and we are committed to pursuing those involved in serious and organised crime and bringing them to justice.     

“We are constantly working with other forces and partners to target offenders and take action, and information from our communities plays a vital part in this. I would like to urge anyone with information on criminality in your area to please come forward so we can act upon it.”

If you have information on the storage of weapons or use of drugs, please contact @MerPolCC, or 101. Alternatively, you can pass information to independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Image: Niall Crawford

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