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Avenham Park drugs gang who “blighted” the city jailed for total of 82 years

Posted on - 28th April, 2015 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Crime, News

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A drugs gang who turned Preston’s historic Avenham and Miller Parks into their headquarters have been jailed.

Ten men and one women who supplied Class A drugs across the city have been sentenced to a total of 82 years and 11 months in prison, following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court which ended on Friday.

Labelled as the Avenham gang they used the park to stash drugs, firearms and deal drugs between July 2013 and September 2014.

DCI Kev Mclean for Lancashire Police said: “I am pleased with these significant sentences totalling almost 83 years imprisonment.

“Ryan Malik and his criminal associates were a blight on Preston, and especially the Avenham area and today’s sentences send a clear message that the police and community will not tolerate this drug dealing behaviour and associated violence. No-one is untouchable and we will continue to use all the criminal and civil legislation at our disposal to put individuals such as this gang behind bars.

“I would like to thank all those involved in this operation and those in the community without whose support these successful prosecutions would not have been possible.”

The members of the gang and their individual sentences are:

Ryan Malik

– Ryan Malik, 27, of Kingsfold Drive, Penwortham, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and a serious crime prevention order which will be activated upon his release from prison.

Ashley Keany

– Ashley Keany, 27, of HMP Liverpool, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.

Ashley Tunstall

– Ashley Tunstall, 25, of St Austins Road, Preston, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment.

Ruben Vitorino

– Ruben Vitorino, 22, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to affray was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 9 years and 2 months imprisonment.

John Hope

– John Hope, 26, of Worsley Road, Preston, pleaded guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months imprisonment.

Ainsley Cox

– Ainsley Cox, 22, of Avenham Terrace, Preston, pleaded guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment.

Reece Jordan Connor

– Reece Connor, 18, of Cemetery Road, Preston, pleaded guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and one count of possessing a bladed article was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months imprisonment.

Shaun Abbott

– Shaun Abbott, 23, of Walnutwood Avenue, Bamber Bridge, pleaded guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 4 years and 10 months imprisonment.

Denise Bradley

– Denise Bradley, 46, of Derby Square, Preston, was found guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment.

Louis Brown

– Louis Brown, 24, of Whitmore Place, Preston, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and wounding and was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months imprisonment.

– A youth defendant pleaded guilty of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

Brett Gerrity, senior crown prosecutor for CPS North West said: “The ‘Avenham gang’ were charged following a highly effective covert police operation. They were responsible for supplying massive quantities of heroin and crack cocaine in the Preston area over a 14 month period.

“They used Avenham Park, where families visited and children played, as the business centre for their drugs operation, where they secreted a live and loaded firearm in bushes and set up and orchestrated drug deals.

“The members of the gang played specific roles within the conspiracy, with Malik being at the head. Although he was never too far away from the action, he orchestrated it that he was never directly involved in the drug deals. Evidence however showed that he controlled and directed the Avenham gang working closely with Ashley Keaney, Ruben Vitorino and Ashley Tunstall.

“The conviction and sentence of Malik sends out a clear message to those who think they are untouchable if they operate at arm’s length from the actual supply of drugs without getting their own hands dirty.

“This gang being taken out of operation has without a doubt made the streets of Preston a considerably safer place to live. The CPS will continue to work closely with police to bring to justice those who seek to make a living from organised crime and who hide behind the fear created in the local community to continue to conduct their illegal activities.”

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