TWO out of 16 people who admit roles in a major criminal plot to supply class A drugs will contest some of the evidence against them before they are punished.
Carlisle Crown Court heard last month how 11 men and women from north Cumbria and five men from the Merseyside area were involved in a conspiracy to transport heroin and crack cocaine into the county for onward supply to addicts.
During the county lines criminal enterprise last year, Liverpool gang members were assisted by “local residents”, who acted as drugs peddlers and allowed to be used as an illegal dealing base.
After a trial before a jury, two Carlisle residents and a teenager from Skelmersdale were convicted of conspiracy to supply class A drugs. Jurors heard 13 others had earlier admitted the offence.
Among them were Roy Hickman – said to be the plot ringleader – and 25-year-old Dylan Thomas Yates, both of Liverpool.
During a crown court hearing today (THURS), it emerged that Hickman and Yates had each submitted a written basis for their guilt. However, their submissions are contested by the prosecution, who allege greater criminal involvement.
Appearing over a video link from custody Yates, of Boode Croft, Liverpool, told Judge Peter Davies he stood by his basis of plea.
As a result, Yates must attend court for a hearing which will allow the judge to decide which version of events to sentence upon. This will take place on May 20.
“You will be produced at court,” Judge Davies told him. “You will give evidence on that date and I will listen to you very carefully.”
Hickman, 35, is due to have a separate hearing later in the month.
All 16 conspirators are due to be sentenced by Judge Davies in early June.