Merseyside drug dealers involved in the transportation of heroin and crack called themselves ‘Mancs’ in an apparent attempt to point police in the wrong direction.
Alan Hughes, 21, and John Kirk, 33 referred to their gang as ‘Manc Joy’ in phone conversations, despite the fact they were operating out of Liverpool, reports Devon Live.
The group’s name was seemingly part of a mission to encourage law enforcement to look away from their area – as the duo smuggled £100,000 worth of drugs down to Exeter during lockdown.
Police discovered that ‘Manc Joy’ had arranged over a dozen trips between the North West and Devon in 2020 – carting drugs to the south and returning to Liverpool with hundreds of pounds each time.
Images found on Hughes’ phone showed him posing with banknotes, with bank activity showing there had been numerous large transfers associated with his account.
He was arrested twice during lockdown for drug-related offences – once in March and again in July whilst on release under investigation.
Driver Kirk was arrested on July 14 en route to Exeter with 1,080 wraps of Class A drugs.
Hughes has now been jailed for four years and a month, and Kirk for three years.
During sentencing at Exeter Crown Court, Judge David Evans said: ”The national lockdown started on March 23, so you, Hughes, were out and about not for the purpose of permitted exercise in defiance of the proscription on all other activities.
“You both, deliberately and knowingly, acted in furtherance of a supply operation, transporting drugs, people and cash halfway across the country, sometimes in defiance of the lockdown at the height of the pandemic.”