Hartlepool man admits role in drugs ring worth ‘millions of pounds’

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A HARTLEPOOL man has admitted his part in a drugs ring worth millions of pounds by plotting to supply large quantities of cocaine.

Darren Crossley, 31, was one of 19 people arrested in raids by police in Hartlepool and the North West earlier this year.

Between them, they are said to have been involved in the trafficking of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis throughout Britain on a massive scale. The whole network is understood to have been worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Crossley, of Galsworthy Close, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday to conspiring with others to supply cocaine between February 7, 2012 and June 11 of this year.

His barrister Caroline Goodwin said it related to a seizure of cash and drugs by police.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply class A drug methamphetamine, class B drug amphetamine and cannabis.

Prosecutor Peter Makepeace said the Crown would offer no evidence in due course on those charges.

Crossley was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next year when all the other members of the gang have been dealt with.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: “Your plea to count one is acceptable, there will be no evidence offered on the other counts.

“When you are sentenced you will be given the appropriate credit for your guilty plea today.

“You will have to remain in custody until sentencing. I can’t tell you when that will be but it will probably be sometime early in the New Year.”

A number of other gang members from Hartlepool have also admitted their part in the operation.

Last month, David Garside, 29, of Hampstead Gardens, and Adrian Morfitt, 29, of Caistor Drive, both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine and cannabis between February 7, 2012, and June 6, 2014.

Neil Gutteridge, 29, from Gower Walk, Hartlepool, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis, while Richard Ryan, 35, from Marlowe Road, in Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamine.

Mark Williamson, 36, of Park Square, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine, and Paul Rudd, 33, from Arncliffe Gardens, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine.

Nine men and two women from Liverpool and Wales have also been charged.

A trial for four other defendants who have pleaded not guilty is due to take place early next month.