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Key player in Merseyside organised crime group sentenced for Barrow drug supply offences

William Dodd

A key member of a Merseyside Organised Crime Group (OCG) that was supplying drugs in Barrow has been sentenced to 4 years and 10 months in prison.

William Dodd, 27, of Barlow Lane, Kirkby, Merseyside, was sentenced at Preston Crown Court today (September 7th) after previously pleading guilty to the charge of Conspiracy to Supply Class A drugs (heroin and crack cocaine).

He was also sentenced for breaching an harassment order which prevented him from entering Cumbria. This sentence will run concurrent to his other sentence.

Dodd was a senior member of the self-named ‘Joey’ OCG – a drug operation which involved ‘dirty phones’ being used to contact drug users in Barrow when heroin and crack cocaine were available for sale.

The drug-dealer was previously sentenced in December 2016 for Perverting the Course of Justice, in connection with giving false identity details in custody. He was handed a Protection of Harrassment Order which prevented him from entering Cumbria for 5 years, and ordered to carry out unpaid work in Merseyside.

But this did not stop his control over the criminal enterprise and officers proved that Dodd was entering Cumbria during the time he should have been carrying out his unpaid work. He was also recruiting others to work on his behalf to traffic Class A drugs into the county.

Officers from the South Area Drug Squad and BTP arrested Dodd on June 14th 2017 at his home address, as part of Operation Tequila. A search of his property found Class A drugs in individual street deals, mobile phones, and paperwork connecting the suspect to Barrow drug users.

This followed several other arrests and subsequent court cases over the previous 12 months, of ‘street dealers’ directly linked to the Joey OCG.

June 2016 – Barrie Nelson, 46, of High White Close and Anthony Wharton, 68, of Marsden Street, Barrow, were stopped by police as they travelled from Liverpool to Barrow. Nelson was found to be in possession of a quantity of Class A drugs which officers believed were for onward supply in Barrow. Mobile phones seized linked the two to the ‘Joey’ group.

Nelson was handed 3 years in prison and Wharton 2 years and 2 months (on January 20th 2017).

September 2016 – Ryan Mitchell, 43, of Westmorland Street, Barrow, and a 15-year-old boy from Merseyside were arrested in Barrow. The 15-year-old had been recruited by the group to deliver drugs to Barrow. He was housed by Mitchell, who was given a sentence of 5 years and 8 months. The teenager (then 16) was given a youth rehabilitation order (both sentenced January 20th 2017).

November 2016 – Three people linked to the ‘Joey’ group were detained in Barrow after being stopped by officers from the South Area Drug Unit. They were found to be in possession of heroin and crack cocaine, and all pleaded guilty to their part in conspiring to supply drugs.  Marcel Keenan, 39, of Kings Road, Bootle and Thomas Brown, 42, of Viola Street, Bootle, were both given 44 months in prison and Jane Sime, 39, of Pennine Gardens, barrow, was given 24 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and a curfew (all sentenced June 21st).

March 2017 – Officers stopped 23-year-old Mark Ledsome, of Westminster Road, Liverpool, on the Ormsgill estate in Barrow, and a search found him to be in possession of individual deals of heroin and crack cocaine, and a large quantity of cash. Police investigation showed that he was another street dealer recruited to work for the ‘Joey’ OCG. He pleaded guilty to the charge of Possession with Intent to Supply Class A drugs and was handed a 2-year prison sentence (sentenced on June 5th).

A spokesperson for the South Area Drug Unit said: “Dodd’s presence in Barrow was solely to commit crime. This not only had a detrimental effect on vulnerable individuals but the community as a whole.

“He was instrumental in setting up this criminal enterprise and assisted in recruiting lower level dealers who he would send from Merseyside to Cumbria, with the sole purpose of supplying Class A drugs. His arrest and that of several other members of the OCG show the extent of this drug trafficking network.

“It took a great deal of hard work to ensure Dodd was brought by the courts – not only by our own officers but with the help of Merseyside Police and BTP. This demonstrates the commitment from forces all across the North West to catch and eradicate these type of criminal gangs.

“The streets of Cumbria are safer now that Dodd is behind bars, and we will continue to target, pursue and prosecute those involved in the supply of drugs to ensure they are brought to justice.”

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