Drugs gang locked up for nearly a century

Some of the drugs recovered in the operation and (below) Peter Bowden, Gordon Waters and Craig Rooks.
Some of the drugs recovered in the operation and (below) Peter Bowden, Gordon Waters and Craig Rooks.

A 22-strong drugs gang responsible for flooding the North West with £2.5m of drugs have been jailed for a total of 90 years.

Cocaine, mephedrone, amphetamine and cannabis were all imported and distributed by the gang, led by Peter Bowden and his deputies Gordon Waters and Craig Rooks.

Peter Bowden

Peter Bowden

The gang were arrested and charged following a complex three year investigation by the Serious and Organised Crime Unit.

All 22 defendants were jailed for a total of 90 years including:

Peter Bowden, 43, of The Glades, Lytham,

Craig Rooks, 46, of Division Lane, Blackpool,

Gordon Waters

Gordon Waters

Gordon Waters, 45, of Clifton Drive, Blackpool,

Mark McDonald, 30, from Merseyside,

William McComb, 52, from Birkenhead,

George Murphy, 47, from Preston,

Craig Rooks

Craig Rooks

Aaron Pitts, 36, of Colwyn Ave, Blackpool,

Simon Rimmer, 52, of West Park Drive, Blackpool,

Richard Millington, 40, of Addison Road, Fleetwood,

Jeffrey Wright, 41, of Victoria Street, Fleetwood,

Jonathan Booth, 48, of Valentia Road, Blackpool,

Naomi Booth, 36, of Valentia Road, Blackpool,

Scott Walker, 24, of Low Moor Road, Blackpool,

Michael Footit, of no fixed adrress,

Kevin O’Connor, of no fixed address,

Stephen Bull, 34, of Mowbray Road, Fleetwood,

Christian Farram, 34, of Dinmore Avenue, Blackpool,

Carl Taylor 31, of St Andrews Road South, Lytham,

Dominique Halshaw, 25, of St Andrews Road South,

Lytham, Glenn Knight, 27, from Merseyside,

Sair Hamza, 51, of Devonshire Road, Blackpool.

All pleaded guilty to various drug related offences at earlier hearings.

The investigation, codenamed Sabine, uncovered a sophisticated criminal enterprise to import and distribute drugs which included smuggling mephedrone into the UK from China and cocaine from Holland.

The gang used methods such as ditching mobile phones and changing the vehicles they used to try to throw police off. During the investigation police seized more than five kilos of cocaine with a street value in excess of £550,000, more than 30 kilos of mephedrone worth £300,000, 125 kilo bags of previously used packaging containing mephedrone worth £1.5m, more than 15 kilos of amphetamine worth £150,000, and two kilos of skunk cannabis worth £25,000.

Officers also found mixing tubs, a heat sealing machine and other equipment after raiding two industrial units at Back Ashburton Road and Leamington Road, in Blackpool, which were used as a laboratory for storing, preparing and mixing large quantities of drugs.

Det Insp Graham Gallagher said: “Bowden and his gang were responsible for a major drugs importation and supply network over a significant period of time into and around the North West.”

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