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Drug users targeted with text bombs as brothers made dealing day trips

Ashley and Blake Hayes

TWO brothers who made drug-dealing day trips to north Cumbria from their homes in Manchester and used text bombs to advertise illegal wares for sale have been jailed.

Police stopped a Seat Leon travelling northbound on the M6 between Penrith and Carlisle on the late afternoon of January 10 last year. Ashley Hayes, 34, was driving and 30-year-old sibling Blake Hayes.

After the patrol car’s blue lights were illuminated, a small package was hurled from the front passenger window. This was recovered with the help of a sniffer dog and found to contain a small amount of cannabis bush.

Three phones were also recovered. Analysis revealed bulk messages – stating “on with both, 10z and 20z” – had been sent to scores of contacts on 17 separate dates during a month-long period which included Christmas, 2018. Evidence also showed the phones were in Carlisle on 17 different days.

“On occasion there was an overnight stay,” prosecutor Chloe Fordham told the city’s crown court today (WED). “But more often than not the pattern was a trip up the motorway, the phones remaining in Carlisle for a few hours before remaining back to Manchester.”

Potentially, she suggested, thousands of pounds could have been netted on each trip.

Ashley Hayes, of Burgin Walk, Collyhurst, and Blake Hayes, of Tufton Walk, Harpurhey, both Manchester, admitted being concerned in the supply of cannabis. The court heard while Ashley Hayes had only one drugs crime on his record – for possession of the class B drug – his brother had been handed a jail term of almost 10 years in 2011 for heroin and cocaine supply crimes.

Recorder Ciaran Rankin sentenced Ashley and Blake to prison sentences of 24 months and 27 months, respectively, for the recent county lines crime.

“You both played important roles in what appears to have been a professional – and, I conclude, a highly profitable – business supplying cannabis in the Cumbria area,” said the judge.

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