THREE members of a gang which flooded the streets of Warrington with class A drugs worth nearly £500,000 have been put behind bars.
Stanley Carnall, his brother Peter Scott, and Alan Thomson were part of a county lines ring which ran as efficiently as a milk round for a good part of a year.
This allowed them to build up a substantial customer base, and resulted in multiple trips to Warrington in a day.
The trio were all charged with conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and they appeared to be sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Thursday, November 10.
Carnall and Scott, both of Eastern Avenue in Speke, appeared in court via videolink from prison, while Thomson was in person, albeit late due to ‘train troubles’.
Siôn ap Mihangel, prosecuting, explained how the three were caught in a Cheshire Police operation into the supply of drugs in Warrington and Macclesfield.
The county lines team they were part of was based in Speke, where the drugs were sourced and then transported to Cheshire on a daily basis.
The Warrington drug run was known as the Chopper line, while the Macclesfield route was known as the Chop Line.
Graft phones were used to send flare messages to a large number of users, while customers would also contact the graft phone and ask to be put on the list, in a system of operating which was referenced as a ‘milk route system’ that saw the drugs delivered shortly afterwards.
Such was the scale of the enterprise that customers would sometimes receive texts saying that runners needed to ‘reload’ with drugs and apologies for delays.
Multiple deals were made in areas on the same day, and one of the graft phones was found to have sent 29,000 flare messages during the conspiracy.
The ring was described as a sophisticated operation, with those at the top knowing police surveillance tactics and taking steps to avoid detection.
The conspiracy ran between May 16 last year and January 7 this year, with a drugs expert valuing the overall conspiracy, involving between 2.43kg and 4.86kg of class A drugs, as potentially worth somewhere from £243,000 and £486,000.
Carnall played a leading role in the conspiracy, and he was responsible for the set-up a graft phone and day-to-day management of the operation.
The 44-year-old was one of those aware of police surveillance, which led him to swap eight of his sim cards among five different devices.
He was stopped while driving in Warrington and police recovered heroin and cocaine worth around £2,400, as well as a graft phone.
The defendant is known to have made 172 trips to Warrington during 212 days of the conspiracy, and when stopped he told police he was a heavy drug user travelling to the town to obtain drugs rather than sell it.
The court heard how he has 16 previous convictions for 24 offences and was responsible for sourcing the drugs and organising for their onwards supply on a commercial scale.
Scott also played a leading role alongside his brother, controlling the graft phone during the conspiracy and making 122 trips to Warrington over 212 days.
The 40-year-old gave no comment during his police interview and has 21 previous convictions for 42 offences.
Of these was an offence involving customs in the Netherlands, for which he received 43 months in prison for trafficking cocaine into the country in 2018
He was part of a plot that saw 1,800kg of cocaine, with a street value of 90million€, in a shipment of bananas shipped from Colombia.
Scott also has another smuggling conviction from 2007, after he was caught in a boat off the Spanish coast alongside 2.5kg of cannabis.
Thomson meanwhile was said to have played a significant role rather than leading, and he managed a graft phone for a period of 18 days during the conspiracy from his home on Mallard Lane in Birchwood.
From here, the 43-year-old sent flare messages, took orders and made a note of customers’ details, and he have no comment to police following his arrest.
The court heard he has 29 previous convictions for 59 offences, a number of which are for dishonesty and violence and he has spent time in custody before.
It was said that he was ‘integral’ in the running of the operation and must have had an awareness of the scale of the operation.
In defence of Carnall, Mark Conner spoke of how he has completed courses in custody and is training to become a personal trainer.
Stanley Carnall, Peter Scott and Alan Thomspn were jailed at Liverpool Crown Court
“This indicates he is a man that can make good and proper use of his life, and what he intends to do when he gets out is to ensure he lives a lawful life that his children and grandchildren can be proud about,” he said.
Jonathan Keane, defending Scott, also referenced courses in prison, including ones in mentoring and mental health, helping him to understand the impact of his offending on others.
On behalf of Thomson, Simon Christie spoke of how the father was involved in the conspiracy for a shorter length of time and was lower down in the chain than others.
Before sentencing, judge Gary Woodhall said: “I am satisfied in each case that the offending is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.”
Carnall was sentenced to nine years and two months in prison, while Scott was jailed for nine years and four months and Thomson for three years and four months.
Both Carnall and Scott were also made the subject of serious crime prevention orders for five years from their release from custody.
In addition, an order was approved for the forfeiture of £30 seized when Carnall was arrested and the destruction of the drugs and drug paraphernalia recovered.