Six Lancashire men jailed following investigation into supply of Class A drugs and criminal exploitation of children

Six men have been jailed for a total of 32 years following an investigation into the supply of Class A drugs and criminal exploitation of children in Lancashire.

By Sean Gleaves
Friday, 27th May 2022, 5:49 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2022, 5:49 pm

Operation Thunder was an investigation into the supply of Cocaine, Heroin, and Cannabis in the Accrington area.

Patrick Gavin was at the head of the organised crime gang, which controlled a series of “deal lines” used to take orders from.

Those orders were then dispatched by Gavin through a group of street dealers and runners, many of whom were youths.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Top row: From left to right - Patrick Gavin, Aqueeb Ali, Ishan Nailen. Bottom row: From left to right - Leroy Wright, John Lomax,Shane Murray. (Credit: Lancashire Police)

Police said the dealers and runners were so enamoured by the criminal lifestyle that they dubbed themselves the “Conspiracy Squad”.

Three members of the group were jailed at Preston Crown Court this week.

A number of others had previously been dealt with for their involvement.

Det Sgt Stu Peall, of the East Vulnerability and Exploitation Team, said: “This operation was carried out on the back of concerns raised in the community and information about the possible exploitation of children and I welcome these sentences which reflect the gravity of the offending.

“We will continue to take the fight to criminals and to and I would encourage anybody with information about criminal activity in their area to contact police in the full knowledge that Lancashire Constabulary will take their concerns seriously and act with professionalism.”

“Lancashire Constabulary takes county lines drug-dealing extremely seriously and where there is evidence of young people being exploited into committing criminal acts then we will look to prosecute the offenders and protect those being exploited.”

This is how long were they sentenced for:

- Patrick Gavin (25/2/93) Charter Street, Accrington. Jailed for 12 years and four months.

- Aqueeb Ali (28/04/94) Rock Street, Haslingden. Jailed for eight years and one month.

- Kieron Ashby (3/3/04) Wordsworth Road, Oswaldtwistle. Two years suspended for 18 months.

- Cameron Newton (27/7/03) Fountains Way, Oswaldtwistle. Two years suspended for 18 months.

- Ishan Nailen (20/3/94) ‘Iceman’ Park Road, Accrington. Jailed for two years.

- Brook Seery (11/01/02) Haslingden Old Road, Accrington. 12-month conditional discharge.

- Thomas Brett (16/05/04) Stevenson Street West, Accrington. A Community order.

- Scott Melia (03/11/82) Tanpits Road, Accrington. Community Order (12 month).

- Leroy Wright (19/12/00) Reeth Way, Accrington. Conspiracy to supply cannabis. Jailed for six months.

- Tyler Branch (26/7/95) Lion Street, Accrington. Concerned in the supply of cannabis. Community order.

- John Lomax (19/4/75) Victoria Street, Accrington. Conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Jailed for five years and nine months.

- A 17-year-old from Accrington. Conspiracy to supply heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis. Given a three year youth rehabilitation order and six month curfew.

- Philip Smalley (01/09/91) Monarch Street, Oswaldtwistle. Conspiracy to supply cannabis. Community order.

- Joseph Oakes (05/04/91) Union Road, Oswaldtwistle. Conspiracy to supply cannabis. 13 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months.

- Brandon Wilson (10/09/02) Higher Antley Street, Accrington Conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Two years imprisonment suspended for two years.

- Callum Harris (28/08/00) Hope Street, Great Harwood. Conspiracy to supply cannabis. 12 months imprisonment suspended for one year.

- Shane Murray (19/01/85) Parkinson Street, Haslingden. Conspiracy to supply cannabis. 40 months imprisonment.

- Callum Dunne (02/06/1995) Stanhill Lane, Oswaldtwistle, and Dylan Ashby (6/5/99) Wordsworth Road, Oswaldtwistle, will be sentenced on June 6.