Police, Fire & Court

Heswall man among 8 sentenced to total of 106 years in prison

By Mary Wells

Yesterday, at Liverpool Crown Court, a Heswall man was one of eight sentenced to a total of 106 years imprisonment for drugs conspiracy offences.

The sentences follow an operation into the conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in 2016, an investigation which resulted in the seizure of 7kg of unadulterated heroin, 10,000 MDMA tablets and over 9kg of cocaine and 11,000 diazepam tablets. All in all, the drugs recovered were given a street value of £1.4m, alongside around £200,000 cash.

This group and their co-conspirators were responsible for the supply of hundreds of kilos of Class A drugs, with values (in terms of expenditure) in excess of £9m between the end of January and the beginning of July 2016.

Peter Atherton, 43 years of Mostyn Avenue, Heswall was sentenced to 18 years, nine months

Leon Hinchcliffe, 34 years of Grasmere Avenue, Noctorum was sentenced to 22 years, six months

Christopher Thomas, 41 years of Hornby Road was sentenced to 16 years and five years to run concurrent

Michael Brady, 39 years of Tern Way, Moreton was sentenced to 14 years

Ian Rowley, 40 years of Hornby Road was sentenced to 12 years, eight months

Neil McWilliam, 39 years of NFA was sentenced to four years

Colin Chesters, 33 years of Pasture Road, Moreton was sentenced to nine years

Allan McNelis, 42 years of Dickens Close, Prenton was sentenced to nine years

Hinchliffe was arrested in December 2016 and Atherton was arrested on 21 November, 2017 in Spain after being subject of a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) and he was brought back to the UK in December.

Detective Sergeant Katherine Ashburner said: “Working alongside our partners with Europol and the NCA, we were able to bring Atherton back to the UK to face justice. We will be relentless in tracking down those who think they can run and hide in other countries.

“This was a long-running and complex investigation into large-scale drugs supply and these offenders, as with others involved in serious and organised crime, never gave a second thought to the effects of their involvement in the supply of Class A drugs. Their own ledgers revealed that they moved cocaine to the value of £9million – destined for UK streets, where these drugs cause harm and misery in communities.

“I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone who has any information about drug supply and any serious organised crime to come forward and tell us. If you let us know, I can assure you we will take positive action and as we have done here, take those responsible for drug crime off the streets and help you to improve your community.”

Anyone with information on suspected drug supply is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101, speak to local officers or you can call the independent charity @Crimestoppers anonymously and for free on 0800 555 111 or via their online form:https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information-online.