Morecambe gang members jailed after gun raid on farm

Members of an organised crime gang who spread drugs misery during the pandemic have been jailed after a gun raid on a farm.

By Michelle Blade
Tuesday, 22nd February 2022, 10:44 am

Four men and four women from Morecambe are among 30 people who will serve a total of 151 years behind bars.

Stephen Watson, Ema Rimmer, Gareth Rees, Katrina Knight, Dean Tarry, Samantha Neild, Scott McKenzie and Kirsty Gregory were handed custodial sentences following an investigation into the criminal use of firearms and county lines drug dealing.

Back in January, 11 people were sentenced to a total of 56 years in prison after warrants were executed on Merseyside and in Eastbourne at the culmination of a 12 month investigation, named Operation Casino.

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Top row (from left) Christopher Scully, Kane Bennett, Jamie Mac Thompson. Second row: Philip Ryder, Ricky Dewsbury, Nicholas Begg. Pictures from Merseyside Police.

One of those to be sentenced was 30 year-old Danny Hanley, of no fixed abode, who was jailed for 13 years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A controlled drugs (heroin and cocaine) and conspiracy to possess firearms.

During the course of the investigation it was established that associates of Hanley were running their own drugs ‘grafts’ (drug lines) and a simultaneous investigation (Op Casino 2) was launched.

Op Casino 2 identified three county line ‘grafts’ in Morecambe, Plymouth and Torquay and a Liverpool ‘graft’.

During the Op Casino 2 investigation a sniper rifle and shotgun, which had been stolen during burglaries, and around 100 rounds of ammunition was recovered from a farmhouse in Kirkby used by the Liverpool gang.

Top row (from left)Edward Begg, Luke Belger, Stephen Watson. Second row: Ema Rimmer, Gareth Rees, Katrina Knight. Pictures from Merseyside Police.

A quantity of Class A drugs was also seized from individuals and properties in Morecambe and Liverpool.

As part of the investigation into Op Casino 2 the following 19 people have been sentenced to a total of 95 years in prison bringing the overall total for the Op Casino operations to 151 years.

*Stephen Watson, 49, of Balmoral Road, Morecambe, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to four years

*Ema (corr) Rimmer, 45, of Balmoral Road, Morecambe, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to three years and seven months

From left: Dean Tarry, Samantha Nield. Pictures from Merseyside Police.

*Gareth Rees, 45, of Thornton Road, Morecambe, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to six years and nine months

*Katrina Knight, 49, of Thornton Road, Morecambe, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to five years and eight months

*Dean Tarry, 54, of Westminster Road, Morecambe, admitted conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine and was sentenced to six years and seven months

*Samantha Nield, 35, of Alexandra Road, Morecambe, admitted assisting an organised crime group and was sentenced to nine months in prison

Wayne Cohen. Picture from Merseyside Police.

*Scott McKenzie, 39, of Bartholomew Road, Morecambe, admitted assisting an organised crime group and was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for 18 months, plus 35 rehabilitation days and 100 hours unpaid work

*Kirsty Gregory, 36, of Bartholomew Road, Morecambe, admitting assisting an organised crime group and was sentenced to nine months suspended for 18 months plus 15 rehabilitation days

*Christopher Scully, 33, of Prestbury Road, Norris Green, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to nine years and four months

*Kane Bennett, 26, of Galemead, Norris Green, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and conspiring to possess firearms and ammunition without a certificate and was sentenced to 14 years and four months

*Jamie Mac Thompson, 30, of Berry Street, Liverpool, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and possession of ammunition without a certificate and was sentenced to nine years and six months

*Philip Ryder, 40, of Quernmore Road, Kirkby, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to eight years and seven months

A sniper rifle was recovered from a farmhouse in Kirkby used by the Liverpool gang. Picture from Merseyside Police.

*Ricky Dewsbury, 42, of Prestbury Road, Norris Green, admitted assisting an organised crime group and was sentenced to two years and three months

*Nicholas Begg, 22, of Alvanley Road, Kirkby admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to six years

*Anya Buckley, 20, of Newman Street, Kirkdale, admitted assisting an organised crime group and was sentenced to a two year community order, a £200 fine and 50 hours unpaid work

*Edward Begg, 21, of Alvanley Road, Kirkby, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to six years and five months

*Luke Belger, 20, of Minstead Avenue, Kirkby, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to four years and eight months

*Wayne Cohen, 39, of Barton Road, Farnworth, admitted conspiring to supply cocaine and heroin and was sentenced to six years and seven months

*Shannon Farrow, 25, of Barton Road, Farnworth, admitted assisting an organised crime group and was sentenced to nine months suspended for 18 months

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Drew said: “This was a significant and impactful investigation that has seen a total of 30 people sentenced to over 150 years behind bars.

“This OCG, who were based primarily in Norris Green, brought misery to the streets of Merseyside and beyond by dealing Class A drugs and arming themselves with potentially lethal weapons. Their only consideration was financial gain and with no thought for the impact on others.

“We know the destruction that drug dealing brings to our communities. Those involved in the supply of drugs and use of weapons have no regard for the lives they affect and the harm they can cause, and we are committed to pursuing those involved in serious and organised crime and bringing them to justice.

“Today’s sentences, following an in depth investigation, shows the level of our commitment and how seriously this type of activity is viewed by the courts. I am delighted that these sentences will see dangerous people removed from the streets of Merseyside for a considerable period of time and I hope that our communities feel reassured that we are continuing to take positive action and support us in our efforts.

“We are constantly working with other forces and partners to target offenders and take action, and information from our communities plays a vital part in this. I would like to urge anyone with information on criminality in your area to please come forward so we can act upon it.”

If you have information on the storage of weapons or use of drugs, please contact @MerPolCC, or 101. Alternatively, you can pass information to independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A quantity of Class A drugs was also seized from individuals and properties in Morecambe and Liverpool. Picture from Merseyside Police.