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Three men jailed for role in cocaine supply network in Preston

Posted on - 27th March, 2024 - 3:17pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Lancashire Police, Preston News
(L-R) Daniel Eastham, Mark Watkins and Colin Pritchard
(L-R) Daniel Eastham, Mark Watkins and Colin Pritchard

Three men have been jailed for their part in the cocaine supply network in Preston.

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Cocaine was transported into Preston by Ormskirk man Colin Pritchard between the end of September 2022 and February 2023.

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Pritchard supplied the drugs to Mark Watkins who would pass them on to Daniel Eastham who was a street-level dealer.

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The supply chain was halted when a BMW X5 car in which Pritchard was a passenger, was stopped by officers on the M6 near Bamber Bridge. After being booked into custody at Preston Police Station, Pritchard was seen trying to hide a bag in his underwear.

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The bag was seized and found to contain 124g of cocaine with an 80% purity, along with a quantity of cash. Watkins and Eastham were both later arrested. They were found to have regularly been in contact by phone on days when Pritchard drove to Preston.

On the day Pritchard was arrested, Watkins tried to call him four times but Pritchard unable to answer as he was in custody.

This was Watkins and Eastham trying to find out what had happened to Pritchard and the drugs he was transporting to Preston.

Pritchard, 50, of Cottage Lane, Ormskirk, Watkins, 31, of Raikes Road, Preston, and Eastham, 33, of Fishwick Parade, Preston, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine. 

At a sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court last Friday (March 22), Pritchard was jailed for six years and eight months, Watkins for six years, and Eastham for three years. 

Eastham’s sentence will run consecutively with a six-year sentence for another drugs supply offence.

Det Con Rick Sholicar of Preston CID said: “This was an organised supply of cocaine into Preston, and the investigation broke that supply chain. 

“The supply of drugs and use of them, brings misery and other forms of crime to communities, and the public are rightly concerned about such activities. These three men are now paying the price for their involvement in the supply of Class A drugs with lengthy prison sentences.”

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