26 members of a Blackpool, Wyre & Fylde drugs gang jailed

A Lancashire Police investigation into drug dealing in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre, has resulted in 26 people receiving prison sentences totalling more than 130 years.

Officers from the West Targeted Crime Unit took down a major supply operation between October 2020 and June 2021.

It targeted dealers bringing in large quantities of Class A drugs into the Blackpool area which were then distributed at street level.

One arm of the Operation Warrior investigation resulted in a Wyre-based gang – Michael Welsh, Gary Johnson, Kristoffer Pilkington and Christopher Dixon – being arrested and convicted for distributing cocaine.

Another part of the operation focused on a cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin supply ring which was controlled by Daniel Myerscough.

Myerscough was responsible for arranging and purchasing bulk quantities of drugs, with him assisted by several people.

One of those who helped him was James Black who at the time was serving a prison sentence for drug trafficking offences.

During his time in prison, Black had access to four different phone numbers and evidence showed him to be in contact with drug deal lines.

Drugs were sold via contact with deal phone lines, which would advertise drugs for sale.

That line was operated by a number of the offenders, with Myerscough having regular contact with individuals controlling deal lines or those who owed him money from having use of a deal line.

Det Insp Kathryn Riley of Lancashire Police, said: “This was a complex investigation which targeted the activity of offenders bringing large quantities of Class A drugs into the Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde areas.

“We targeted people operating at different levels within organised crime groups.

“The operation led to a large number of people being convicted and the length of the custodial sentences handed out by the courts confirms how seriously the supply of drugs is taken.

“Drugs can do serious harm to communities and this operation sends out the message that we won’t tolerate drug dealing.”

Andrew Snowden, Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire said: “It's important that we send a clear message to criminals that police are coming to get you, and this is another great example of the work officers do, every single day, to disrupt and dismantle organised crime gangs and put them behind bars.

“It's what Op Warrior is all about, taking the fight to criminals that blight our communities, delivering on my Fighting Crime Plan and seeing even more arrests, more asset seizures, and more drugs off our streets.

“Results like this, which will directly make Lancashire safer, is what the public want to see and delivers on a top priority in my Fighting Crime Plan.

"I would encourage anyone to report suspicious activity, or any information that might help in bringing criminals to justice. We continue to go after more and make sure those involved in organised crime feel the full force of the law and have their day in court.”

The defendants were sentenced at various hearings at Preston Crown Court.

Those sentenced:

Michael Welsh, 56, of Ash Road, Thornton - eight years and eight months.

Gary Johnson, 63, of Rede Avenue, Fleetwood  - five years and five months

Christopher Dixon, 31, of Swallow Close, Thornton– two years and five months.

Kristoffer Pilkington, 41, Blackpool Road, Poulton - two years and nine months.

Daniel Myerscough, 34, of Stoneway Road, Thornton – 10 years.

James Black, 37, of Kildare Avenue, Thornton – 13 years.

Alan Laughlin, 54, of Lune Grove, Blackpool – seven years and six months.

Kyle Sullivan, 36, of Springwood Grove, Liverpool - nine years.

Christopher Sharrock, 30, of Lancaster Road, Wigan - 10 years.

Debra Curran, 56, of Airdrie Place, Blackpool – five years and five months.

Anthony Hayes, 35, of Lennox Court, Blackpool – four years and six months.

Anthony Judge, 53, of the Promenade, Blackpool – two years and two months.

Liam Kelly, 52, of Kairnryan Close, Bispham, Blackpool – four years and six months.

Craig Wright, 39, of no fixed address  – nine years.

Jake Belcher, 23, of Salthouse Avenue, Blackpool – three years and six months.

Tony Butcher, 34, of Airdrie Place, Blackpool - four years and five months.

Kyle McCabe, 27, of Coleridge Road, Blackpool – three years and six months.

Saul Harvey, 24, of Nolan Street, Manchester - two years and two months.

Jack Houghton, 23, of School Road, Blackpool - three years.

Jae Prince, 33, of Westmorland Road, Blackpool – two years and eight months.

William Welsh, 25, of Warley Road, Blackpool - four years and four months.

Andrew Sweet, 47, of Falmouth Road, Blackpool - six years.

Ryan Taylor, 22, of Acorn Mews, Blackpool – four years and six months.

John Kirkwood, 39, of George Street, Blackpool - five years and five months

Daniel Holt, 24, of First Avenue, Blackpool – two years.

Darren Thomas, 32, of Dinmore Avenue, Blackpool - three years.

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