Drugs gang known as 'Scouse Mick' jailed after flooding Cornwall with heroin and cocaine

Kevin Condliffe, Kieron Ellis, Jonathan Fincham and Richard McClean (L-R) were jailed for a total of 31 years. Credit: Merseyside Police

A gang known as 'Scouse Mick' who drove half a million pounds worth of drugs more than 300 miles away before using Royal Mail to post the profits back have been jailed.

The four men were sentenced to a total of 31 years for the roles in the "unique" county line which ran between Liverpool and Cornwall and supplied heroin and cocaine to the county.

The operation saw around 140 packages sent from small rural post offices to the North West city which contained more than £560,000 - equating to the sale of around seven kilograms of drugs.

Police uncovered the operation after two of the men accidentally left coffee jars full of the drugs - worth around £50,000 - in Newquay pub, the Quintrell Inn.

When Kevin Condliffe, 46, and Richard McLean, 39, returned a short time later to retrieve the bag, only to find Devon & Cornwall Police had already seized it.

Officers then carried out warrants and seizures and uncovered thousands of messages between the four men discussing the distribution of drugs and movement of cash.

The four, two men from Liverpool and two from Cornwall, were jailed at Truro Crown Court for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Condliffe, of Carr Lane East, Liverpool, was jailed for nine years and six months, McLean, of Curtana Crescent, Liverpool, for eight years and six months.

While Jonathan Fincham, 52, of Pellor Fields, Helston, was jailed for six years and six months at Truro Crown Court on Friday, 22 April.

Kieron Ellis, 44, of Carbis Bay, Penzance, was jailed for seven years on Monday.

All had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.

Condliffe was jailed for nine years and six months, while McLean was jailed for eight years and six months. Credit: Merseyside Police

The men were caught following Operation Foxshine, a police investigation into the supply of controlled drugs by a well-established organised crime group operating by using a telephone number titled, 'Scouse Mick' to deal in drugs.

Phone and financial analysis proved that between 1 January 2021 and 14 July 2022 the group were bringing drugs from Liverpool to Cornwall by car and using the Royal Mail to post the cash profits back up the line to associates in Liverpool.

A detailed review identified that the group posted 140 parcels during that time.

The men were jailed at Truro Crown Court. Credit: ITV West Country

Based on weights, the parcels were believed to contain more than £560,000 in cash, equating to the sale of around seven kilograms of drugs.

The investigation team, along with Royal Mail have received an International Digital Investigation Award (IDIA) for their work on the case.

The court heard that on 13 July 2022, Condliffe posted two parcels containing nearly £10,000 in cash to Liverpool.

Officers from Devon & Cornwall Police and Merseyside Police awaited confirmation that the parcels had been successfully delivered the following morning before executing 11 warrants simultaneously in Helston, Penzance, Carbis Bay and Liverpool.

The men were all arrested in Cornwall and later charged. They pleaded guilty to conspiracy to the supply of Class A controlled drugs in court and were remanded into custody ahead of sentencing.

Kieron Ellis was jailed for seven years, while Jonathan Fincham was jailed for six years and six months. Credit: Merseyside Police

Detective Sergeant Gerard Farley from Merseyside Police said: “This investigation involved working closely with Devon and Cornwall Police to gather sufficient intelligence to execute warrants and seizures, and ultimately shut down the ‘Scouse Mick’ County Line."

Detective Inspector Glenn Willcocks, Senior Investigating Officer at Devon & Cornwall Police said: “We worked closely with the Royal Mail and Merseyside Police to identify the patterns and behaviours being used by this group.

“We were then able to track the volume and frequency of the parcels which enabled us to understand the scale of the group, take action against the offenders and dismantle the drugs line.

“This was no side line job, those sentenced today played pivotal roles in this group and benefitted from the proceeds of crime.”

Christine Hart, of the CPS South West Complex Casework Unit, said: “The use of the Royal Mail Postal Service to send cash profits back to Liverpool was a unique tactic employed by this organised crime group to try and avoid the repeated short ‘cash courier’ journeys which usually feature in County Lines drug dealing."

Royal Mail said they were pleased to provide evidence to support a conviction. Credit: PA Images

A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Our security teams work very closely with police forces and will often assist officers with their expertise and the tools at their disposal.

“We are very pleased their support in this investigation led to a conviction and this substantial sentence. We will always do everything we can to make our service extremely hostile to criminals.”

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