Blackpool county lines drug gang jailed for 43 years – including man found with drugs in Kinder egg

County lines drug gang that brought ‘utter and abject misery’ to Blackpool is jailed for 43 years – including pusher caught with class A drugs hidden in Kinder egg between his buttocks

  • Jamie Copeland, 35, hid a large amount of heroin and cocaine in the plastic egg 
  • Addicts in the resort just had to call a phone number to arrange to buy drugs 
  • Operation Mallard revealed the drugs were regularly couriered from Manchester

A county lines drug gang who brought ‘utter and abject misery’ to Blackpool was jailed for a total of 43 years.

The pushers included 35-year-old Jamie Copeland who was caught with a large amount of heroin and cocaine in a Kinder Egg hidden between his buttocks.

The Manchester-based organised crime group used cross-county contacts to flood the streets of the seaside resort with heroin and cocaine, with some dealings in full view of holidaymakers.

Jamie Copeland, 35, was caught with a large amount of heroin and cocaine in a Kinder Egg hidden between his buttocks. He got three years in jail

Jamie Copeland, 35, was caught with a large amount of heroin and cocaine in a Kinder Egg hidden between his buttocks. He got three years in jail

One pusher in the county lines gang hid drugs in a Kinder egg

One pusher in the county lines gang hid drugs in a Kinder egg

The operation, which went by the name of ‘Junior’, had a phone number which addicts in the resort could call to arrange to buy drugs.

Their activities were exposed by police sting Operation Mallard, which revealed drugs were regularly couriered there from Manchester.

Eight people pleaded guilty to county lines-related crimes as a result of the sting.

Ringleaders Kane Hopkins, 24, from Manchester, got nine years and Christian Cook, 19, from Blackpool, received three years and eight months in a Young Offender Institution (YOI).

Judge Philip Parry said some street dealing would have taken place full view of Blackpool residents, visitors, men, women, and children, whom he said ‘must have been disgusted’.

Kane Hopkins, 24, from Manchester, got nine years

Christian Cook, 19, from Blackpool, received three years and eight months in a Young Offender Institution (YOI)

Kane Hopkins, 24, (left) and Christian Cook, 19, (right) were part of the gang that brought ‘utter and abject misery’ to Blackpool

He added: ‘You fail to grasp or acknowledge the effect your part in drug supply onto the streets of Blackpool has on the people who live in the town, the businesses who suffer at the hands of addicts who steal to fund their addiction, the utter and abject misery you bring to those who are themselves gripped by addition.

‘The effect of what you all did has far reaching consequences in areas such as Blackpool.’

He remarked the operation ran smoothly and was ‘remarkably simple in its execution’.

Hopkins and Cook controlled the ‘Junior’ phone line and brought drugs from Manchester to Blackpool, Preston Crown Court heard. 

Reece Barlow, 20, got three years in a YOI

Nikolaos Mandulakis, 50, was given given three and a half years

Reece Barlow, 20, (left) got three years in a YOI. Driver Nikolaos Mandulakis, 50, (right) was given given three and a half years

A second ‘South Shore Junior’ line to serve the south of the resort was introduced.

The duo needed flats to store the drugs, cars and drivers to move them, and dealers or runners to sell them.

Dealers and runners included David Heaps, 38, who was given four years and one month after being described as ‘brazen’ in his dealings.

Karlie Kanger-Kamara, 26, was sentenced to six and a half years, including one year five months for other offences in Manchester.

Driver James Baillie, 40, was given five and a half years in prison. The Manchester-based organised crime group used cross-county contacts to flood the streets of the seaside resort with heroin and cocaine, a court heard

Driver James Baillie, 40, was given five and a half years in prison. The Manchester-based organised crime group used cross-county contacts to flood the streets of the seaside resort with heroin and cocaine, a court heard

Reece Barlow, 20, got three years in a YOI. 

Copeland, who was found with £680 down the front of his trousers and drugs in his washing machine along with the Kinder egg, joined the conspiracy for about a week.

The judge acknowledged he had led a law abiding life and had a good job before getting involved with drugs – and he has since become clean.

He got three years in jail.

David Heaps, 38, was given four years and one month after being described as 'brazen' in his dealings

Dean Bennett, 34, got four years, and his girlfriend Theresa Ratcliffe, 35, got a two year suspended sentence

David Heaps, 38, (left) was given four years and one month after being described as ‘brazen’ in his dealings. Dean Bennett, 34, (right) got four years, and his girlfriend Theresa Ratcliffe, 35, got a two year suspended sentence

Other drivers Nikolaos Mandulakis, 50, and James Baillie, 40, were given three and a half years and five and a half years respectively.

Dean Bennett, 34, got four years, and his girlfriend Theresa Ratcliffe, 35, got a two year suspended sentence.

They allowed Cook, Barlow and Kamara to use their flats as a base, the court heard.

Aaron Scott, 23, who is dad to a three-week-old son, was given an 18 month sentence suspended for two year for allowing his flat to be used to store drugs.

Judge Philip Parry said some street dealing would have taken place full view of Blackpool residents, visitors, men, women, and children, whom he said 'must have been disgusted' (stock image)

Judge Philip Parry said some street dealing would have taken place full view of Blackpool residents, visitors, men, women, and children, whom he said ‘must have been disgusted’ (stock image)

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