Fylde pro boxer Jack Arnfield "had drug debt" with gang

A Fylde pro boxer is standing trial accused of being involved in a major Blackpool drugs ring.

Saturday, 15th September 2018, 6:50 am
Boxer Jack Arnfield is among the defendants accused of conspiracy to supply cocaine as part of a large drugs ring

Jurors were told Jack Arnfield, 29 – who prosecutors say played a small role in the conspiracy – was criticised by one of his co-defendants for “counting his money in his car”.

It is alleged the cash was payment to settle a drugs debt with the gang, who stand accused of a sophisticated plot to flood to the Blackpool area with class A drugs.

Footage of an alleged drug deal and covert recordings of conversations between some of the defendants are among the evidence presented to the jury during the trial so far at Preston Crown Court.

Preston Crown Court

CCTV footage, filmed on Bloomfield Road in Blackpool, showed a man police claim is Joseph Murphy, 28, of Percy Street, Fleetwood, standing near his van on Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, and talking on a mobile phone, on February 14 last year.

Prosecutors say around that time another defendant had made a phone call to Murphy on a phone police say was ‘encrypted’ in order to disrupt police intelligence.

Jurors were shown further footage in which a man repeatedly going to the back doors and driver door and the central locking lights being activated.

Det Sgt Mark Hogan said: “ He seems to be making doubly sure the doors are locked. We are saying he’s double checking it’s locked because of what he’s placed inside, which is drugs.”

The court was previously told that on May 23 last year, one member of the gang was chasing money owed by Arnfield for class A drugs.

Prosecutors say Scott Ledrew was arranging a meeting with Arnfield in B&Q car park to receive cash for drugs.

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The exchange took place and a plastic bag was handed over.

A recording device planted in Ledrew’s car heard his girlfriend, Jessica Lang, ordering him to tell Arnfield to “stop sitting in his car counting his money in the car park”.

Prosecutor Martin Reid said: “Its apparent that Mr Arnfield was just going to hand the cash over loose and that’s why Ledrew had to get the bag from his own car to put the cash in.”

Ledrew then told Lang to put the cash under the seat or in her handbag, the court heard.

It was one of several secretly recorded conversations involving member of the gang that jurors were told allude to drug dealing activity.

Lang, 21, of Elgin Place, Grange Park, was recorded allegedly overheard talking to Ledrew, who was also heard having phone conversations with other people.

In those conversations, prosecutors allege, phrases believed to be slang for drugs and the collection of cash were used.

The conversations were recorded on a device planted in Ledrew’s car. He pleaded guilty at a hearing on May 23 to conspiring to supply cocaine and cannabis, as well as possessing amphetamines with intent to supply and possessing a prohibited weapon.

The duo were also heard having discussions about the arrest of other suspects allegedly involved in the scheme.

Ledrew’s white Ford car was caught on camera at key times, Preston Crown Court heard.

The court was previously told Lang and her co-defendants: Arnfield, of Ribby Road, Kirkham; Blu Leahy, 24, of Powell Avenue, South Shore; Daniel Mahon, 25, of Shadow Grove, Blackpool; Joshua Shaw, of Henson Avenue, South Shore; Ashley Bucher, 22, of Ashton Road, Blackpool, and Joseph Murphy, 28, of Percy Street, Fleetwood, were involved in a drugs conspiracy overseen by her brothers, Anthony and Bradley Gill, and assisted by Le Drew.

The latter three have admitted their roles, but Lang and her co-defendants deny conspiracy to supply cocaine.

She also denied conspiring to supply cannabis.

Prosecuting, Martin Reid described how on July 19, Lang had been recorded telling her boyfriend: “He wants to know how much Tuna’s got now.”

The Crown alleges this refers to another man in the conspiracy called Tonner. Evidence then shows Ledrew making a call to the man.

Lang was also heard reading out text messages to her partner as he drove, which allegedly refer to drug dealing activity.

On June 20, 2017 – the day a man called McIver was arrested – the pair were heard discussing his arrest after another person had texted them saying: “They’ve just done my mate.”

The court was also told of an exchange in July last year involving Ledrew’s car and a black BMW near the car park of the Bloomfield pub.

Mr Reid added: “Ledrew said, ‘There’s a camera up there on that thingy.’ He was right.

“He said, ‘Should be all right though shouldn’t it?’ He was wrong.”