Prosecutors bid to claw back cash from £30m Hartlepool drugs gang

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Nine dealers who took part in a multi-million pound plot to bring drugs to the North East face having their cash and assets seized.

The men, all from Hartlepool, joined forces with drugs dealers from Merseyside to trade in cocaine, amphetamine, and cannabis.

Last year, they were given jail sentences totalling 85 years at Teesside Crown Court.

Peter Makepeace QC, said the operation led by David Garside and Adrian Morfitt traded in drugs with a potential street value in excess of £30m.

Ringleaders Morfitt and Garside were jailed for 12 years and eleven years and eight months, respectively, in June last year.

“They recruited others, sourced supplies and customers,” added Mr Makepeace.

“The drugs seized were just a snapshot, the tip of the iceberg.”

The cases of those now facing confiscation of assets, including cash, cars and property were back before the court as prosecutors begin Proceeds of Crime Act proceedings.

Applications are being made against the following, all from Hartlepool: David Garside, 31 of Hampstead Gardens, Phillip Darby, 58, of Silverwood Close, Adrian Morfitt, 30, of Caistor Drive.

Paul Rudd, 35, of Arncliffe Gardens, Neil Gutteridge, 31, of Gower Walk, Richard Ryan, 37, of Marlowe Road, and Mark Williamson, 38, of Marlowe Road.

Also facing proceedings are seven men and a woman from Merseyside and North Wales, who were involved in the conspiracy with the Hartlepool men.

David Gallagher, 55, of Wharton Terrace, and David Haggan, 43, of Cranwell Road, both Hartlepool, were jailed last year for their part in a separate cocaine conspiracy.

Confiscation proceedings against them will be heard at the same time after the court heard they were linked to one of the men from Merseyside.

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann said he was hopeful some agreement could be reached with some of the defendants’ barristers over how much each had benefited from drug dealing, and what cash and assets were available to be seized.

Mr Herrmann added: “Inevitably it will not be possible to reach agreement in all cases.

“There will need to be individual hearing to settle those.”

Judge Peter Armstrong adjourned the hearing until the week commencing July 11.