Jail terms cut for £2m drug gang

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Nine members of an organised crime gang, responsible for flooding the North West with drugs, have had their jail terms cut on appeal.

Police seized £2.25m worth of drugs – cannabis, mephedrone, cocaine and amphetamine – during a series of raids as part of a massive investigation into the supply chain on the Fylde Coast and in other areas.

The 22-strong gang were all handed tough sentences at Preston Crown Court in August 2013. But nine members – including ringleaders Peter Bowden, Craig Rooks and Gordon George Waters – have now had their sentences cut by judges at the Criminal Appeal Court.

The court heard officers seized more than five kilos of cocaine with a street value of more than £550,000, mephedrone worth £1.8m, more than 15 kilos of amphetamine worth £150,000, and two kilos of skunk cannabis worth £25,000.

Reducing the sentences, Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Phillips and Judge Neil Ford QC, said the terms were ‘excessive’.

George Leon Joseph Murphy, 44, of New Hall Lane, Preston, was jailed for six years and three months after admitting conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs. His sentence was reduced to four years three months.

Ringleaders Peter Bowden, 44, of the Glades, Lytham St Annes, and Craig Rooks, 47, of Division Lane, Blackpool had their terms cut to nine-and-a-half and eight-and-a-half years respectively.