Chester drugs gang had £40,000 in bucket


Staff reporter

DETECTIVES who carried out a drugs gang bust in Chester found £40,000 in a bucket in a back yard.

And the officers also discovered £20,000 stashed in the wall of an outbuilding at the Handbridge house.

The details emerged as four men – three of them from Chester – were jailed for a total of more than 25 years for their part in a conspiracy to supply cocaine with a street value of £250,000.

Alan Mackin, 53, Vance Jones, 43, and Peter Lavender, 48, all from Chester, and Brian Binney, 44, from South Yorkshire, had all pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court to charges of intending to supply Class A drugs.

Appearing for sentence yesterday Mackin, of Woodfield Grove, Hoole, was jailed for eight years and six months. Jones, of Pyecroft Street, Handbridge and and Binney from Broomhill, Sheffield, were both given sentences of six years and Lavender from Gerrards Avenue, Great Boughton, was sentenced to five years and three months.

The court heard a police operation swooped on the drugs ring and officers seized more than £50,000 of Class A drugs and over £120,000 in cash during October of last year.

Mackin had orchestrated the cocaine deal, acting as financier and establishing a contact in Spain, with Jones and Lavender both acting as brokers, while Binney was the courier of the drugs, bringing them over the Pennines from Sheffield.

When the men were arrested on October 13 of last year, both Jones and Lavender had met up with Binney under instruction from Mackin to take collection of drugs weighing just under one kilogram. The meeting place was the car park of The Piper pub in Hoole.

When police searched Mackin’s home they found £40,000 - the estimated value of the cocaine - in a plastic bucket outside the back door and a further £20,000 found concealed in the wall of an outbuilding at the property.

Sentencing the four men, Judge Ian Trigger said: “You all saw this as a chance to make easy money and, thankfully, you were prevented from flooding the school yards and streets of this city by the police.

“Anyone who deals with highly addictive drugs can expect to receive custodial sentences of some length.

“Drugs corrupt the young and vulnerable, bringing misery and leading to the necessity to commit further crimes.”

After the hearing Det Chief Insp Kev Bennett from Cheshire Constabulary said: "These men are collectively responsible for a significant proportion of the supply of Class A drugs in the Chester area and over a period of time have led a criminal lifestyle and benefited financially from it.

"Now they they will be spending a lengthy period of time behind bars, helping to remove drugs from our streets and ensuring justice has been served.

“Drug distribution and use reaps misery on others, both upon members of our community and the drug users themselves.

“Drug addiction precipitates other crimes and it impacts on others' lives and can be devastating when drug users resort to committing other crimes to fund their habit."

See full story in the Chester Leader

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