Drug gang’s deals near police station

Wigan police station
Wigan police station
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BRAZEN drug dealers ran a prolific selling operation right under the noses of Wigan police officers, a court heard.

Paul Ryder, 27, brother Phillip Ryder, 31, and associate Dean Brown, 24, flooded the town with cocaine and heroin operating from a field on Scot Lane, a matter of metres from Wigan police station.

The trio formed one half of a drugs gang who admitted conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and appeared before Liverpool Crown Court this week.

The court heard that Merseyside police officers tracked Phillip Ryder, who would pick up his brother Paul, before travelling to Wigan on a regular basis in the later months of last year.

The pair, who live in Melling, Merseyside, also picked up Brown, of Compton Road, Liverpool, and would drive to Scot Lane as part of “almost daily trips to Wigan” in November.

Phillip Ryder “occupied the role of driver”, the court was told and by the end of the month, another associate of the group, Michael Smyth, had “took over the Wigan graft.”

The gang’s other members, Michael Sillitoe, 19, and Lewis Renshaw, 21, of Norris Green, Liverpool, conducted their half of the gang’s drug peddling operation on fields close to their homes and travelled “often on a bicycle” to make the deals.

Sillitoe wore a “graft phone” around his neck that was referred to as a “call centre” for orders, the court was told.

Rowena Goode, prosecuting, said all six were “members of an organised criminal gang” who split their operation between Liverpool and Wigan. A search of Sillitoe’s home in October 2012 yielded more than a dozen cocaine wraps with purity levels between 52 and 64 per cent.

Sillitoe and Renshaw were later observed by police making a delivery to Brown’s home before one of his team’s regular trips to Wigan.

The “Wigan team” of Ryder, Ryder and Brown were all charged after raids by specialist drugs officers as part of Operation Bronze in March, Merseyside Police confirmed.

Sentencing for the gang was deferred until October 1 while a pre-sentence report was completed for Renshaw.