Drugs ‘Mr Big’ put away for 13 years

Jailed: Timothy Gibbs-Stringer

Jailed: Timothy Gibbs-Stringer

A Wigan businessman has been revealed as a “Mr Big” in a major drug-smuggling racket.

Timothy Gibbs-Stringer is now behind bars at the start of a 13-year jail sentence after being found guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin and cannabis. By day the 53-year-old of St Malo Road, Whitley, was a seemingly respectable executive. But police today described him as the “Wigan-based orchestrator” of supplying the Class A and B substances.

Richard Birtwistle

Richard Birtwistle

Gibbs-Stringer was in fact jailed back in February along with 45-year-old Mark Farrell of Greystone Crescent, Liverpool. But police had held off revealing the information until the jailing of another co-conspirator - Ian Pauline, 51, of Barchester Drive, Aigburth - at Manchester Crown Court.

Pauline and Farrell received 10 years and nine years, six months respectively.

Gibbs-Stringer and Farrell were identified as suspects by officers who had investigated Wigan men Derek Belshaw and Richard Birtwistle, who were jailed 12 months ago for possession with intent to supply heroin and cannabis.

Belshaw, 52, of Cameron Place, Worsley Hall, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Richard Birtwistle, 34, of Bold Street, Pemberton, was sentenced to 30 months in prison after pleading guilty.

Derek Belshaw

Derek Belshaw

Officers said that Gibbs-Stringer was identified as the Wigan-based orchestrator of the supply of drugs with Farrell representing the Liverpool sellers.

Det Chief Insp Andy O’Connor of Merseyside Police said: “The sentencing of these three men clearly shows how seriously the courts take the supply of Class A and B drugs on the streets of Merseyside and further afield.

“They, as with others involved in serious and organised crime, never gave a second thought to the effects of their involvement in the supply of Class A drugs, and were consumed by their own greed and the desire to make money off the misery of others. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to anyone who has any information about serious organised crime to come forward and tell us. If you let us know, I can assure you we will take positive action and help you to improve your community.”

Liverpool Crown Court last year heard that Belshaw was caught red-handed with £1m of heroin and cannabis while on day release from another jail sentence he was serving for other drug offences. Birtwistle was his driver that day.