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Final member of Manchester drugs gang jailed for 20 years after going on the run

Paul Heaton

[A] Manchester drugs gang that plotted to supply cocaine in Scarborough has racked up almost 50 years in prison after the final member was sentenced today.

Paul Daniel Heaton went on the run as his accomplices were jailed following a major North Yorkshire Police investigation.

The 26-year-old was arrested in North Wales and appeared at York Crown Court today, where he was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

A judge jailed him for six years for conspiring to supply class-A drugs and one year for failing to surrender to custody.

He also received a 13-year jail term for an assault in Greater Manchester while he was wanted on warrant in July 2017, in which a man in his 20s suffered serious injuries.

The rest of the drugs gang have already been jailed for almost 30 years following a major North Yorkshire Police investigation.

Ringleader Sonny Elms, 24, who also went on the run before he could be sentenced, was jailed for almost ten years in August after he was arrested in his home city of Manchester.

The five other gang members, all from Greater Manchester, were sent to prison for a total of almost 20 years in February 2017.

Detective Sergeant Ryan Chapman, who led the investigation for North Yorkshire Police, said: “Heaton’s substantial sentence brings to an end a major North Yorkshire Police investigation – an investigation that has taken serious offenders off our streets for a collective total of nearly half a century.

“Since this investigation began around four years ago, we’ve worked closely and collaboratively with other forces, including Greater Manchester Police.

“This has enabled us to piece together a huge amount of evidence that has ultimately led to this gang’s downfall. It also enabled us to catch Heaton and Elms when they went on the run and ensure they were jailed for a very long time.

“I’d like to thank all the officers, investigators and other staff who have worked so tirelessly to bring these individuals to justice.

“Drugs absolutely ruin communities and wreck the lives of the most vulnerable people in them. The individuals in this case don’t care about that, but we do. And I’m delighted that we’ve been able to make a positive difference through our investigation.”

The other sentences are as follows:

  • Ringleader Sonny Elms, 24, of Mansfield Road, Manchester – jailed for nine years, eight months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs
  • Jack Ashcroft, 28, of Dean Brook Close, Manchester – jailed for six years, three months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs
  • Blaise Woolfe, 25, of Stockton Drive, Failsworth, Manchester – jailed for four-and-a-half years being concerned in the supply of class A drugs
  • Ashley Farnell, 22, of The Fairway, New Moston, Manchester – jailed for three years, four months for conspiracy to supply class A drugs
  • Drew McCormick, 20, of Lynthorpe Road, Manchester – jailed for two-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs
  • Jamie McKenna, 19, of Edgeware Road, Oldham – jailed for one-and-a-half years for conspiracy to supply class A drugs

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