Three Merseyside men jailed for drugs and firearms offences

Three men from a Merseyside-based organised crime group were jailed for more than 65 years at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, 17 June.

Their drugs and firearms deals were uncovered by North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) detectives when the encrypted communications platform ‘EncroChat’ was taken down by international law enforcement in 2020.

In April this year, Thomas Speed, 37, of Maghull was found guilty at trial of conspiracy to possess firearms for sale or transfer, conspiracy to possess ammunition, and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (heroin and cocaine). He was jailed for 28 years.

Scott Rosseau, 41, of London was found guilty of conspiracy to possess, purchase or acquire firearms, conspiracy to possess ammunition, and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, namely cannabis. He was jailed for 22 years.

James Salkeld, 37, from Kirkdale, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess, purchase or acquire firearms, conspiracy to possess ammunition, and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) and was jailed for 15 years and four months.

Paul Woodford, 58, of Liverpool pleaded guilty to firearms offences back in November 2021 along with other offences and was jailed for a total of more than 24 years back in December 2021.

Each of the men jailed had their own role to play in this criminal enterprise, and their incriminating messages were systematically traced back to them, despite them denying the attribution of the handles. NWROCU detectives were able to prove that Speed was the owner of handle “Simplecreek’, Rosseau was the owner of handle “MysticKangaroo”, Salkeld was the owner of handle “Bestgolfer”, and Woodford was the owner of handle “Kingwasp”.

On 7 April 2020, a conversation took place between Speed and Woodford (Kingwasp) where they discuss buying a firearm.

Kingwasp: “Tom av you got any guns4sale 1 ur m8s got any??
Simplecreek: “Hello mate, yeah there’s 2 there but he’s dear to be honest I think he’s got a 38 and a 9”

A discussion then followed about prices for the guns which ranged from £3,500 for the 38 and £5,000 for the 9mm.

On another occasion, the pair share photographs of a scorpion firearm which was then sent on to Salkeld and Rosseau.

Salkeld quoted a price of £6,000 and commented “a proper piece of kit in it”.

Rosseau replied, agreeing to the purchase saying “I’ll grab it mate”.

On 19 August 2020, detectives conducted warrants in an armed search of an address in Lawson Close, London which led to the recovery of drugs, cash, and imitation firearms from the property. 

Speed was arrested on 20 September 2020 at his home address in Maghull.

Salkeld was arrested in January 2023 in Holland before being extradited back to the UK.

Detective Inspector Dave Worthington from the NWROCU’s Investigation Team said, “These were incredibly dangerous men, who belonged to a network of criminals involved in the transfer of firearms and drugs across the country.

“They didn’t care less about the consequences of drugs and guns in our communities, or for the innocent people who would be affected by this.

“They thought that they could get away with conducting their business on the encrypted mobile platform EncroChat – but they were sadly mistaken.

“We uncovered within the Encrochat data images of firearms they were conspiring to buy and supply which could have caused serious harm and devastation in our community.

“We continue to work with policing partners to pursue criminals involved in sourcing and supplying illegal firearms, and to remove weapons from circulation.”

Image: Birkenhead News

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