A WIGAN member of a drugs gang caught with cannabis worth millions of pounds at his home has been jailed for eight years.
When police raided Derek Belshaw’s address they discovered almost 600 kilos of cannabis resin and nearly 10kg of herbal cannabis.
Jailing the 49-year-old, Judge David Aubrey, QC, said his role had been limited to one day but it was a vast amount of cannabis resin.
He added: “Your role was a distributor and organiser.”
Belshaw, of Drummers Lane, Ashton, appeared in the dock at Liverpool Crown Court alongside two other drug dealers and one of their girlfriends and together the gang received a total of 33 and a half years.
Judge Aubrey told them: “Drugs, whether heroin or cannabis resin or herbal cannabis, cause despondency, despair, degradation, addiction and crime.
“You all, in different ways, were playing a part, and a significant part, in either the distribution or continued circulation of very large amounts of controlled drugs.
“Each of you had complete and utter disregard to your victims and potential victims.
“You simply did not care what effect it would have on them or indeed upon the fabric of society in which we live.”
Judge Aubrey said that the three men had been driven by “avarice and greed” and said that operation had been “a very sophisticated, organised, professional network dealing in large amounts of controlled drugs.”
Matthew Maguire, of 37, of Hogarth Drive, Wirral, admitted possessing a firearm and 280 rounds of ammunition as well as the cannabis conspiracy. Judge Aubrey jailed him for 11 years.
Belshaw, who has a previous drugs conviction as have the two other men, pleaded guilty to three charges involving conspiracy to supply cannabis, possessing cannabis resin and herbal cannabis with intent to supply.
The court heard that the cannabis seized at Belshaw’s home had a potential street value of £2.6 million and 150 kilos of cannabis resin found hidden by the gang in two wheelie bins in New Brighton on Merseyside was worth £730,000.
The other male defendant, Gary Clare, 49, of The Cliff, New Brighton, also admitted the conspiracy plot and additionally admitted conspiring to supply high purity heroin with a potential street value of £7m.
Jailing him for 12 and a half years the judge said that his role had been as a courier.
Maguire’s girlfriend, Kim Hodgin, of Tollemache Road, Wirral, who admitted the cannabis plot, received two years.
Simon Christie, prosecuting, told the court that on May 27 Maguire left a hotel on the South Wirral – where £33,000 was later recovered from his room – and shortly afterwards Belshaw and Clare were the same vicinity as him.
“Plainly there was an agreement between the three of them for drugs to be moved from one vehicle to another for onward transportation,” said Mr Christie.
Paul Becker, defending Belshaw, said that he admitted being a distributor and was realistic about the outcome of the court proceedings.
It was the first time he had been involved with Maguire and Clare and he was not “at the top of the tree”, he said.