VIDEO: Criminal gang jailed after guns, drugs and ammunition discovered at Widnes flat (From Runcorn and Widnes World)
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VIDEO: Drugs gang jailed after guns, drugs and ammunition discovered in West Bank
A GUN-TOTING criminal gang who brought fear, intimidation and violence to the streets of Halton have been jailed today for almost 40 years.
The four men from Merseyside ran their drugs den from a terraced property in Mersey Road, West Bank in Widnes, Chester Crown Court was told.
A firearms search warrant brought their reign of terror to an end when police officers raided their first floor flat and discovered three live powerful weapons worth £8,000, bullets, ammunition, and cocaine and heroine worth £7,000 stashed in the loft.
A semi-automatic Colt 45 pistol, a fully automatic Skorpion sub machine gun and a pinfire revolver with 117 rounds of live ammunition were recovered.
A pit bull terrier was found inside and the front door had been reinforced with a steel bar secured to the wall with thick masonry bolts.
Judge Elgin Edwards described the flat as a “fortress”.
He said: “Dangerous dogs, a pistol, summachine gun, weapons, body armour, masks, it was an absolute nightmare scenario.
“These men were glorifying violence, like designer macho American gangsters.
“They revelled in gun violence.
“A message has to be sent out to people like you and the public at large that drug violence will not be tolerated.
“A sentence has to be imposed to deter people like you.”
Brady Cole, aged 24, of Beechwood Avenue, Liverpool, and Jamie Barnett, aged 23, of Baileys Lane, Liverpool, were the masterminds behind the criminal gang, prosecutor John Wyn Williams told the court.
He said a Colt 45 pistol found in the flat had been used by the pair in a shooting in North Road, Halewood, on March 25, 2013.
The gun was also forensically linked to a shooting in The Uplands, Palacefields, Runcorn, on February 9, this year.
Cole and Barnett, who admitted a string of drugs and firearms offences, were each jailed for 12 years.
Dean Kenton, aged 29, of Gleave Crescent, Liverpool, and Lewis Gandy, aged 22, of Sceptre Road, Liverpool, were sentenced to six years after admitting conspiracy to supply drugs and possession of a Colt 45 pistol and ammunition.
DI Simon Blackwell, who led the investigation, said:”The discovery of weapons of this kind on this scale within Cheshire is unheard of.
“Never before have we seen firearms of this type or ammunition of this quantity on the streets of the county.
“This is a significant conviction.”
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