Fleetwood: From the courts 16-03-16

John Alan Brooks was given a 28-year sentence at Birmingham Crown Court for conspiring to import 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the UK
John Alan Brooks was given a 28-year sentence at Birmingham Crown Court for conspiring to import 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the UK

A woman who crashed into a wall at St Annes was shoeless and unsteady on her feet when spoken to by police.

Aimee Bryant, who said she did not know when she left her home or where she was driving to, had been drinking wine before the accident.

Bryant, a 24-year-old call centre worker, of Fleetwood Road, Thornton, pleaded guilty to driving with excess alcohol and not in accordance with her provisional licence.

She was disqualified from driving for 14 months, fined £250 with £85 costs and ordered to pay £25 victims’ surcharge by District Judge Margaret McCormack sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said on February 20 at 3.30am police were called to an accident on Todmorden Road where Bryant had crashed her VW Beetle into a wall.

Bryant, a learner driver, was in the back of a car which had women in it. When she got out she was unsteady and shoeless.

A breath test showed 51 micrograms of alcohol in her body – 35 is the limit.

Steven Townley, defending, said his client, who had no previous convictions, could given no explanation as to what had prompted her to get into the car.

• A stressed father was found to have cannabis in his system after police stopped his car.

Mark Mulholland’s blood sample showed he had more than four times the specified limit for the drug.

Mulholland, unemployed, 30, of Manor Drive, Cleveleys, pleaded guilty to driving with a proportion of a controlled drug over the specified limit.

He was sentenced to a 12 months community order with up to 10 days rehabilitation to be supervised by the probation service, ordered to do 40 hours unpaid work for the community, banned from the road for 16 months and ordered to pay £85 costs with £60 victims’ surcharge by District Judge Margaret McCormack sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Martine Connah, prosecuting, said Mulholland was stopped by police on January 16 about 1pm, as he drove a Hyundai Trajet on Fleetwood Road, Thornton. A blood sample showed 8.7 micrograms of cannabis in his body – 2 micrograms is the specified limit.

Phil Turner, defending, said his client, had no previous convictions and a clean driving licence. Mulholland and his wife had five children to care for at home.

Mulholland’s wife had been suffering from the after effects of cancer treatment and he felt stressed. He had used cannabis earlier in the day and felt the effects had worn off by the time he got into the car. There had been no suggestion by the police he had been driving badly.

• A man has been accused of stealing food costing more than £300 from four shops.

Martin Tysoe, 34, of Prescott Close, Cleveleys, faces two offences of theft from the Co-op.

He is also accused of stealing £15 worth of chocolates from B and M Bargains, Lytham, and chocolates valued at £133 from Poundstretchers, Fleetwood.

Tysoe, who was not present at court, had his case adjourned by Blackpool magistrates.

• A man who committed a series of burglaries in the Over Wyre area has been jailed.

Mark Ormerod, 44, of Esplanade Mews, Knott End appeared at Preston Crown Court on Monday, and was sentenced to 32 months imprisonment after he previously pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary.

Officers launched an investigation in February 2015 after they received reports of a burglary at Horrocks Farm in St Michaels.

The offenders broke into the outbuildings of the farm before making off in a black Mercedes.

This was one of a number of burglaries that had occurred in the Over Wyre area over a two week period, including burglaries at Wallings Farm in Cockerham and St John the Baptist’s Church in Pilling, where more than £2,500 of damage was caused after the vestry door frame and masonry were smashed.

Enquiries led to Ormerod’s arrest after he was found hiding out in a Lancaster motel in May 2015.

His Mercedes was seized and officers found tools and equipment inside the car which he had used to gain entry during the burglaries.

Following a search of his home address, further property including a Samsung tablet device and torches from two of the burglaries was also recovered.

He was later charged with all three burglaries, as well as a fourth at Garden Inspirations in Cockerham which he pleaded not guilty to.

He was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and his Mercedes and tools were all forfeited by the court.

Det sgt Simon Balderstone of the Lancaster Impact team who led the investigation said: “This is a great result for the people of Over Wyre. Mark Ormerod moved to this quiet rural area from Burnley and subjected the tight knit community to a number of crimes. We are dedicated to fighting rural crime and we would urge anyone with any information that could assist us in the future to come forward and report any

• A man celebrating discovering he was a father threatened to snap a police officer’s neck.

Daniel Geoghan, 25, of Winsford Crescent, Cleveleys, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly.

He was given a six months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £25 victims’ surcharge by District Judge Jeff Brailsford sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

The judge told him: “What you said was disgraceful. Police officers have a hard enough job without this.”

Prosecutor, Kerry Griebe, said that police received a report a man was acting in an erratic manner on February 11 about 10am at the junction of the resort’s Boothroyden and Carshalton Road.

Geoghan refused to stay in the area and an officer raised his arms to stop the defendant moving. He hit the officer’s arm, before threatening to snap his neck.

Peter Manning, defending, told the judge: “Shortly before this incident he discovered he was the father of a child. There had been an issue about the child’s paternity.

“He went out to celebrate because he was delighted at being the child’s father. He will now have new responsibilities.”

• A woman grabbed a doorman’s phone and threw it to the ground because she thought he was filming her.

Carrieann Johnson, 33, of North Church Street, Fleetwood, pleaded guilty to causing damage.

She was given a 12 months conditional discharge and ordered to pay £450 compensation by Blackpool magistrates.

Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said Johnson tried to leave Blackpool’s Pop World on February 20 about midnight with a drink and a doorman told her she could not take it out.

The doorman said she became abusive and called him names so he would not let her back in. He then went to look at a text on his phone and Johnson grabbed it from him and threw it.

Patrick Nelligan, defending, said his client suffered from bi-polar disorder and had other mental health problems.

Johnson wanted to go back into the venue to get her friend to go home with. When the doorman refused to let her back in she got upset and started making noises. She got more panicky, thought he was filming her and snatched his phone.

• Two men and a teenage boy accused of a night time robbery at a Blackpool off-licence have made their first appearance at court.

They are accused of kicking and punching the boss of Aireys, Holmfield Road, North Shore, before grabbing bottles of alcohol from the shelves and ripping a gold chain from the shopkeeper’s neck.

Aaron Scott, 21, of Warbreck Drive, North Shore, Blackpool, Daniel Thomas, aged 20, of Luton Road, Thornton, and the 16-year-old Blackpool boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are charged with robbery of £320 worth of property on March 12.

The teenager, who pleaded not guilty to the offence, was bailed by District Judge Jane Goodwin sitting at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court.

Scott and Thomas were remanded in custody.

All three defendants will appear at Preston Crown Court on April 13.

• A career criminal jailed for masterminding a cocaine smuggling plot has had a £3.6 million confiscation order reduced to just £500,000 by the Court of Appeal.

In 2012, John Alan Brooks was given a 28-year sentence at Birmingham Crown Court for conspiring to import 1.5 tonnes of cocaine into the UK.

Brooks, 64, a former Poulton car salesman, was living in Marbella, Spain, before his arrest.

A one-time car dealer, Brooks, 63, had lived and worked on the Fylde coast – with addresses on St Annes Road, South Shore, and Garstang Road East, Poulton – before fleeing to live the high-life in Spain in the 1980s.

A spokesman for the then Serious Organised Crime Agency described him as a “career criminal” and an “international fixer”.

He was arrested after a boat called Dances With Waves carrying the drugs haul was intercepted by Irish authorities 170 miles (274km) off the south west coast of Ireland.

The boat had collected the cocaine in Venezuelan waters and was heading for Liverpool, the police said.

In June 2014, Brooks was found to have realisable assets worth £3.6 million and a confiscation order was made – to be met within six months, with seven years’ imprisonment in default.

Yesterday, Lord Justice Treacy, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave and Mr Justice Garnham quashed that order and substituted a sum of £500,000 to be paid within six months, with five years’ jail in default.

Lord Justice Treacy said that the reality of the position was that the Crown had never contended that Brooks had available assets on the scale which was found by the judge.

“It was the judge’s error in taking into account the value of the drugs as approaching £3 million which had led to the overall order in the sum of £3.6 million.

“The evidence properly available to the judge simply did not warrant a conclusion resulting in a liability of that order.”

Counsel for the Crown had acknowledged this and said that the court could properly find that a sum of about £1 million was recoverable, he added.

“We consider that that was an overestimate based on our assessment of the evidence of this appellant’s lifestyle which underpins the finding that he has available hidden assets.”

Brooks has been described as the “go-to” man for criminals wanting to charter plush yachts for drug smuggling, and over the years splashed his money on a string of luxury cars ranging from Mercedes to Porsches and Ferraris.

He bought top Cartier watches and paid thousands for one of his four children to attend expensive private schools.