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Liverpool Uzi and drugs gang jailed for 57 years

by Harriet Webster. Published Fri 04 Dec 2009 17:54
Claire Heron
Claire Heron

Members of drug dealing gang that terrorised a city's underworld - spraying bullets from an automatic sub-machine gun - have been jailed for a total of more than 57 years.

Seven men and one woman admitted charges including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and possession of UZI weapons.

A court heard that the gang operated a racket suppling heroin and crack cocaine in North West England and Scotland between September 2008 and April 2009,

And after the evil drug peddlers were sentenced by a judge at Liverpool Crown Court, police revealed that forensic evidence linked the UZIs with two shootings in the city.

Ballistic tests showed one of the UZIs had been used in shooting attacks in Huyton.

A hail of bullets was sprayed at one house in Huyton in October 2007 and a similar attack was carried out in August 2008.

No-one was injured in either of the UZI outrages or a third shooting incident involving a handgun, also in Huyton.

The court heard that #280,000-worth of heroin and crack cocaine were found in a Merseyside Police Matrix Unit raid on a house in Botanic Place, Wavertree, in October 2008.

Five kilogrammes of heroin and more than half a kilogramme of crack cocaine were seized.

The UZIs, which fire 900 rounds per minute of .9mm bullets, were recovered when police searched the loft of a house in Huyton occupied by one of the gang in November 2008.

No ammunition was found with UZis when they were uncovered but they have a ferocious firepower, capable of delivering 900 rounds per minute.

Police say the weapons, dating from 1961 have a black market value of up to #2,500.

Sentencing the gang Judge Brian Lewis said that using sub-machine guns as "fashion accessories" would not be tolerated.

Judge Lewis said: "The only function of an UZI sub-machine gun in the hands of criminals is to commit acts of violence."

Ring-leader Paul Johnson, 35, of Nutgrove Road, St Helens, was jailed for total of 12 years for firearms conspiracy along with possessing and supplying heroin and crack cocaine.

Johnson's partner, Claire Heron, 25, also of Nutgrove Road, St Helens, was jailed for nine years for similar offences.

David Tyrer, 43, of Canterbury Park, Allerton was jailed for nine years for heroin conspiracy and possession of drug-processing equipment.

Joseph Paul McIntyre, 47, of Teynham Crescent, Norris Green, was jailed for 5 years and three months for firearms offences.

Robert Symes, 50, of Condron Road North, Litherland, was jailed for 6 and a half years for firearms and drug offences.

As she was led down to the cells Claire Heron shouted "Mum I love you!" to her mother who was in floods of tears in the public gallery.

The police officer who led the inquiries that smashed the gang, Det Supt Paul Richardson said: "These convictions are the result of complex investigations carried out by a dedicated team.

"The sentences handed down today send a clear message to drug dealers in Merseyside that they will be tracked-down and put behind bars for a very long time."



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