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Police killer's mum charged in money laundering probe

Anita Cregan, mother of Dale Cregan. Credit: PA

The mother of police killer Dale Cregan was due to appear in court today charged with fraud.

It follows a police investigation into an alleged multi-million pound money laundering racket.

Anita Cregan, 56, her daughter Stacey and 11 others – including acquaintances of her son – are due before Manchester magistrates court.

It follows a police operation designed to tackle organised crime in and around Tameside, Greater Manchester.

It is understood investigators have frozen assets worth millions of pounds as part of the probe, including more than 150 properties.

Mrs Cregan, of Sutton Drive, Droylsden, has been charged with two counts of fraud, one of obtaining a money transfer by deception and one of money laundering.

Cocaine dealer Dale Cregan, who had already slaughtered gangland rivals Mark and David Short, went on to murder PCs Fiona Bone, 32, from Sale, and Nicola Hughes, 23, from Diggle, before finally handing himself in to police.

He lured the officers to their deaths with a bogus report of a burglary, shooting them and throwing a grenade onto their dying bodies.

Mrs Cregan’s son is currently serving life at Strangeways prison and has been told he will never be released.

Her daughter Stacey has also been charged with one count of money laundering, namely that she and others conspired to steal, disguise, convert or transfer criminal property.

Other current, or former acquaintances, of Dale Cregan have also been charged with money laundering. They include Leon Atkinson, 36, of Ashton under Lyne, Matty James, 34, from Clayton, and Sean Booth, 32, of Sutton Drive, Droylsden.

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Two of Dale Cregan's accomplices have appeal rejected

Jermaine Ward and Anthony Wilkinson Credit: PA

Two men jailed for life for their roles in the murder of one of police killer Dale Cregan's victims have lost an appeal against the length of their minimum prison terms.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London rejected applications brought on behalf of Anthony Wilkinson and Jermaine Ward.

Wilkinson, 34, pleaded guilty to the murder of David Short, while Ward, now 25, was found guilty of the crime by a jury at Preston Crown Court last year.

Sir Brian Leveson, Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Foskett ruled today that Wilkinson's 35-year term and the 33 years being served by Ward were neither "manifestly excessive or wrong in principle".

Last year, Cregan was given a whole-life prison term for the admitted murders of unarmed policewomen Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, and father-and-son David Short, 46, and Mark Short, 23.

Sir Brian warned that anyone using guns and explosives in pursuit of personal vendettas, or for any other reason, "must expect that sentences will necessarily be of the very greatest severity".

Cregan moved to maximum security prison

Dale Cregan

One-eyed police killer Dale Cregan has been admitted to maximum-security Ashworth Hospital because of his behaviour.

Cregan, 30, is now in the secure mental hospital, where Moors Murderer Ian Brady is serving his sentence, after being moved from Strangeways jail in Manchester.

The father of one was put in the hospital wing at the jail before his transfer yesterday after refusing food.

He was jailed for life at Preston Crown Court for the ruthless murders of two unarmed policewomen and a father and son. The gangster, who had had served only minimal time in jail before, was told he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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Cregan probe leads to drugs seizures and 300 arrests

The investigation into the murders of PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone and David and Mark Short has led to a further 300 arrests and the seizure of £300,000 worth of drugs.

Dale Cregan was jailed for a whole life term for the murders last month. Operation Challenger has been targeting the criminal networks and families in the communities of Tameside and north and east Manchester.

Some of the drugs that have been seized as part of Operation Challenger. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

As part of the operation, there has been more than 300 arrests, £2m worth of property seized, more than £300,000 worth of drugs recovered and £650,000 worth of restraint orders since October 2012.

Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy said: "The investigation into the murders of Fiona, Nicola and the Short family revealed a far-reaching web of organised criminality and extreme violence which had to be tackled.

"The historic rivalry between criminal factions fighting over reputation and territory and creating alternative systems of justice was the spark that led to the tragic events we saw last year.

"Over the past few years, we have made huge strides towards tackling organised crime. Millions of pounds worth of drugs have been seized and more than 1,500 years of jail time handed out to offenders.

"However, we know there are still criminalnetworks causing misery to certain communities so Operation Challenger seeks tobuild on our successes and permanently tackle these organised crimegroups."

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