'County lines' Manchester gang jailed for Grimsby drugs plot

Police mug shots of six men

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Humberside Police

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Clockwise from top left: Bonar Kekula, John Brady, Robin Griffin, Gerrard Downs, Lee Hughes, Liam Oxley

Six members of a drug gang involved in a so-called “county lines” operation dealing heroin and crack cocaine have been jailed.

The men supplied the drugs from five addresses in Grimsby between October 2015 and October 2016.

A man and a woman, who were also involved in the operation, absconded from Hull Crown Court on Friday and are being hunted by police.

All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

The gang, from Manchester and one from Louth, Lincolnshire, ran the drugs plot from addresses in Hainton Avenue, Thorgam Court, Farebrother Street, Freeman Street, Sussex Street, and St Augustine Avenue.

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Humberside Police

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Siblings Billy, 28, and Lauren Griffin, 25, have absconded from court

The court heard 1.4kg of Class A drugs were recovered.

Sentencing the gang, Judge Mark Bury told them: “All of you were motivated by money.

“This operation was reasonably sophisticated.

“This was a county line drug enterprise from Manchester which supplied and distributed Class A drugs.”

He said siblings Billy, 28, and 25-year-old Lauren Griffin would also face custodial sentences, which he was “going to increase due to them not appearing in court”.

County lines is the name given to urban drug dealers expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas, primarily to supply crack cocaine and heroin to addicts in those locations.

According to the National Crime Agency there are currently more than 1,500 lines in operation in the UK.

Det Sgt Steve Elliott, of Humberside Police, said: “This has been a complex investigation, over a long period of time, which dealt with very serious offences.

“We know the impact that the actions of this group – and all those who deal in drugs – has on the wider community and by securing these sentences, we hope that we will make a huge difference to the people of Grimsby.”

The convicted drugs gang

  • Robin Griffin, 31, of Biddisham Walk, Manchester – Jailed for nine years and nine months. He also admitted possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to supply
  • Bonar Kekula, 28, of Harrowby Drive, Collyhurst, Manchester – Jailed for seven years
  • Lee Hughes, 30, of Aldbourne Close, Manchester – Jailed for seven years
  • Gerrard Downs, 31, of Abderdare Walk, Manchester – Jailed for six years and three months
  • John Brady, 29, of Northridge Road, Manchester – Jailed for five years
  • Liam Oxley, 31, of Aswell Street, Louth – Jailed for two years and four months
  • Lauren Griffin, 25, of Biddinsham Walk, Manchester – Yet to be sentenced
  • Billy Griffin, 28, of Biddisham Walk, Manchester – Yet to be sentenced

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