Hartlepool drugs gang member ordered to pay back £70,000 over cocaine and cannabis ferrying

Mark Williamson

Mark Williamson

A member of a Hartlepool drugs gang who helped to ferry huge quantities of cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis across the Pennines has been ordered to pay back almost £70,000 to authorities.

Mark Williamson, 39, was sentenced to three years and four months in jail in June 2015 for conspiracy to supply amphetamine.

Richard Ryan

Richard Ryan

He was part of an organised crime network that dealt in up to £30m of drugs with a larger gang of criminals in Liverpool.

Williamson, previously of Marlowe Road, Hartlepool, was seen by police giving a package to a North West drugs courier in Hartlepool in May, 2013.

Officers swooped and found 25 kilos of amphetamine and £44,000 in cash.

Judge Peter Armstrong said when jailing Williamson: “You were directly controlled by those at the very top in the organised crime groups.”

Drugs seized by police.

Drugs seized by police.

The Hartlepool organised crime gang was controlled by David Garside and Adrian Morfitt who were jailed form more than 23 years for conspiracy to supply cocaine, cannabis and amphetamine on a major scale.

Williamson was yesterday ordered to pay back £69,140 within six months under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Teesside Crown Court heard he stood to benefit by £320,789 from his role in the drug dealing.

Judge Armstrong made a confiscation order for the available amount which will be raised from the sale of a house.

Several other members of the cross-Pennine network also face being stripped of any ill-gotten gains in a Proceeds of Crime hearing that has been listed for three days.

They include Hartlepool drugs boss Adrian Morfitt, formerly of Caistor Drive, who is serving a 12-year prison sentence.

The court also heard that Richard Ryan, 38, another member of the Hartlepool gang, benefited by £240,000 from his involvement.

Ryan, 36, previously of Marlowe Road, Hartlepool, was sentenced to six years in 2015 after he admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and amphetamine.

He arranged for a kilo of cocaine to be delivered from Liverpool to his brother Lee Ryan and fellow dealers Alan Forcer and Robert Elsdon in Hartlepool on August 8, 2013.

In April 2013, Ryan was in a car with Morfitt, North West gang ringleader Keith Watson that was stopped by police on Hart Lane.

Samples of drugs were found in the car along with information about how to set up an amphetamine lab.

And Ryan was sent by Morfitt to a drugs factory in Liverpool in January 2014 to help mix amphetamine but bailed out after spotting police.

But he has been ordered to pay back a nominal £1 after inquiries into his finances found he had no money or assets.

Judge Armstrong made a deprivation order against Ryan in relation to a Skoda car that was delivered to Ryan by Liverpool drug dealer Shaun Stanton.