Members of Liverpool Organised Crime Group sentenced to over 311 years in prison

25 October 2019, 15:54

Thomas Dunn

By Thomas Dunn

Twenty-two members of an organised crime gang, who distributed weapons and Class A drugs on Merseyside, have today been sentenced to 311 years combined in prison.

Merseyside Police investigated the criminal network for over 12 months and searched a number of properties, both in the Speke Area of Liverpool and on The Wirral.

One of the warrants carried out in May 2018 by officers discovered a haul of firearms as part of a wider arsenal of weapons that included crudely made Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs).

The home-made devices, known as pipe-bombs, were discovered at a car garage in Seacombe, Wirral.

It’s understood these were to be were stored in case they were deemed necessary to protect the gang’s interests from rival criminals.

Overall, the sentencing over Thursday and Friday carried charges of conspiracy to transfer firearms, conspiracy to transfer ammunition and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and B in Merseyside and other areas of the country.

Among the items seized by police included 2kg of Heroin and £60,000 in cash.

Speaking after sentencing, Head of Investigations at Merseyside Police, Mark Kameen, said: “What Operation Bombay has done is removed significant criminal elements, ‘parasites’, from our Speke area.

“It has removed firearms, drugs, cash and it has now rebuilt confidence back into the community.

“What we found in the operation was a County Lines element coming into it. As far as I’m concerned, these people are child abusers – that’s how they should be treated – they are exploiting young children.”

As a result of the sentencing of the twenty-two gang members, crime has significantly reduced in the Speke area of Liverpool.

In the 600 days since Operation Bombay concluded, serious assaults are down by 43%, reports of anti-social behaviour are down 37% and there have been 0 reports of firearms discharges.

Money that was recovered through the Proceeds of Crime Act has also been fed back into community groups within the Speke area, where the gang chiefly operated out of.

Local Policing Inspector Paul Holden said: “Certainly from our point of view, we will not be taking our eye off the ball, we will make the arrests and keep talking to people as best we can.

“Whilst we’ve taken out key individuals from that community there are still other people that require our services.

“We’ve since introduced £26,000 of POCA funding – We had 33 community groups coming to us for a share of that funding, all wanted to work with the police to build a more resilient community.”

Those sentenced are:

1. Christopher Wallace, 35 years of Woodchurch, Wirral is at the top of a group of organised criminals. He was responsible for the supply of large quantities of Class A drugs and as a result had access to firearms. Guns and ammunition were recovered from his garage premises and his DNA was also found on those guns, ammunition and pipe bombs. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns); conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle); conspiracy to transfer ammunition; possession of explosives with intent; conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and sentenced to life with a 31 year tariff.

2. Paul Gregory, 29 years, from Nottingham was involved with Jermaine Bryan in a handover of firearms with Joanne Ritchie in October 2017. His DNA was recovered from two firearms that were recovered in Liverpool. One of those firearms was found at Christopher Wallace’s garage. The other was recovered hidden near to an address linked to criminal associates of Christopher Wallace in Speke. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

3. Jermaine Bryan, 34 years, from Nottingham was also involved in the transaction with Joanne Ritchie in October 2017. It was Jermaine Bryan who met with her, activating a new mobile telephone that same day and he received a call from Joanne Ritchie as she arrived at Nottingham. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

4. Thomas Mousley, 39 years, Priorsfield Road, Liverpool, was a close associate of Christopher Wallace. He was involved in the firearms side of Christopher Wallace’s business. He was closely involved in the collection of firearms from Nottingham by Joanne Ritchie on behalf of Christopher Wallace. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition and sentenced to 14 years in prison.

5. Joanne Ritchie, 47 years, of Westdale Road, Wavertree. She was a courier for Christopher Wallace delivering drugs in Liverpool; North Wales and Plymouth and no doubt collecting cash which was the proceeds of that drugs business. She made many, many trips. In one eight-month period she made more than 20 trips, many of them with her partner Kevin Morgan. She was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to nine years.

6. Kevin Morgan, 58 years, of Westdale Road, Wavertree is related to Christopher Wallace and is also Joanne Ritchie’s partner. He also made a number of trips to deliver drugs, using his private hire taxi as a cover. 18 trips were identified, although there were likely many more. Sometimes he would be alone, on others he would travel with Joanne Ritchie. When he wasn’t with Joanne Ritchie, the telephone contact shows that he would co-ordinate the trip, liaising with Joanne Ritchie as the courier and keeping others informed of what was going on. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns); conspiracy to transfer ammunition and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 16 years.

7. Callum Burrows, 22 years, of Ann Street West, Widnes. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs, he was sentenced to 20 years.

8. Jake Burrows, 24 years, of Brandon, Widnes. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle), conspiracy to transfer ammunition and conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class B drugs and he was sentenced to 25-and-a-half years.

9. Lee Price, 37 years, of Eastern Avenue, Speke. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle), and conspiracy to transfer ammunition. He pleaded guilty to Conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was sentenced to 22-and-a-half years.

10. Shaun Connolly, 27 years, of Withington Road, Speke. He was found guilty of possession of firearms (handguns) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition and was sentenced to six years, 10 months.

11. Mark Gardner, 23 years, of Wessex Close, Hale Village. Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle), and conspiracy to transfer ammunition. He was sentenced to 14-and-a-half years.

12. Barry Kelly, 26 years, of Little Heath Road, Speke Pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle), conspiracy to transfer ammunition, conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and conspiracy to bring items into HM Prison. He was sentenced to 18 years.

13. Paul O'Neill, 58 years, of Denford Road, Dovecot He was found guilty of conspiracy with intent to supply class A drugs. He was sentenced to eight years.

14. Anthony Tierney, 32 years, of Beechwood Gardens, Aigburth, DNA was found on a bag containing a luger and 39 bullets along with Christopher Wallace. Also found in possession of a loaded Smith and Wesson .45 handgun from Beechwood Gardens. He took over the responsibility for drugs supply to North Wales and Shropshire following the arrest of Christopher Wallace, he had links with the Speke based crime group. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. £5k of cash was found hidden under a mattress at his address. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle), conspiracy to transfer ammunition, and conspiracy with intent to supply Class b drugs. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Tierney was sentenced to 20 years, three months.

15. Dillon Walsh, of 21 years, HMP Haverigg is the stepson of Christopher Walsh and played a pivotal role in the firearms conspiracy from within the confines of prison. He also had links with the Speke crime group. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition. He pleaded guilty to possession of a mobile phone in prison. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

16. Connor Courtney, 25 years, of Upper Mann Street, Toxteth, had significant phone contact with Dillon Walsh and also had dealings with the crime group in Speke. He was arrested at his home where a loaded sawn-off shotgun was found hidden in a grassed area at the side of his house. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle) and conspiracy to transfer ammunition. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs. He was sentenced to

17. Ciaran McHale, 26 years, of Alexandra Park, Aigburth , played a part in acquiring guns and ammunition to protect the supply of illegal drugs by this crime group. His DNA was found on ammunition in a Smith and Wesson revolver that was found hidden in Neil Huyton's address. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a mobile phone whilst in prison. He has been sentenced to five years, nine months in prison.

18. Ian O'Brien, 33, of Grafton Street, Toxteth, He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs . He was sentenced to eight years.

19. Neil Huyton, 37 years, of Beechwood Gardens, Aigburth, His fingerprints were found on a second plastic bag containing the 0.45 Smith and Wesson revolver. He was found guilty of conspiracy to transfer firearms (handguns), conspiracy to transfer S1 firearms (shotgun/rifle), conspiracy to transfer ammunition, and conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class B drugs. (on chart NG of three main offences, but on written info guilty) . He was sentenced to 14 years, three months in prison.

20. Kevin Marlow, 21 years, of Alderwood Road, Speke Pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class A drugs and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs. He was sentenced to six years, nine months.

21. William Troake, 21 years, of Damwood Road, Speke He pleaded guilty to conspiracy with intent to supply Class B drugs. he was sentenced to 21 months suspended for two years and 180 hours unpaid work.

22. Jack Ross, 22 years, of Witney Road, Halewood Pleaded guilty to possession of a Section One firearm without a certificate. He was sentenced to three years.

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