Image copyright South West ROCU Image caption James "Porky" Brown (left) and Thomas Garcia, who ran the "sophisticated" operation, were both jailed for 10 years

Nine members of a drug-dealing gang who used a phone number dubbed the "Scouse Porky Line" to sell cocaine and heroin on a commercial scale have been jailed.

The men, who couriered Class A drugs between Merseyside and Dorset, were thwarted by a major police surveillance operation in 2018.

Police intercepted drugs worth £150,000 in a car on a low loader lorry, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.

The men were jailed for between 32 months and 10 years.

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Media captionNine of the Scouse Porky drug line gang members have been jailed

All of the men had been convicted at previous hearings of conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin.

The court was told the Scouse Porky Line was a well-known source of Class A drugs among users in Poole and Bournemouth.

Thomas Garcia, 26, and James "Porky" Brown, 31, were the gang's leaders, with the drugs hotline they used taking its title from Liverpudlian Brown's nickname.

Image copyright South West ROCU Image caption Clockwise from top left: Shaun Garcia, Olatunde Ademuyiwa, David Murphy, Carl Norton, Craig Biddle, Shaun Lewis, Richie McDonald and Stephen McDonald - Biddle has yet to be sentenced

Customers would call the phone number, which was manned hundreds of miles away in Liverpool, and place their order.

Garcia and Brown then gave instructions to their "local managers" based in the Kinson area of Bournemouth, where they received "bulk quantities" of drugs, prepared them for sale and sent the cash made back to Liverpool.

Prosecutor David Jenkins said officers from the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit spent months gathering evidence before they "swooped" in November 2018 as members of the county lines gang headed towards Bournemouth with a delivery.

Image copyright South West ROCU Image caption Large quantities of cash were sent to Liverpool by the gang as part of the "commercial-scale operation"

Passing sentence, Judge Jonathan Fuller QC said evidence of the phone line's existence dated back to December 2017 but it was likely to have been operating for longer.

"This was a highly organised criminal enterprise and its duration was significant," he said.

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Media captionCounty lines drugs trade: "Drug gangs took over my home"

The following men were convicted at Bournemouth Crown Court of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine:

  • Thomas Garcia, 26, of Blackdown Grove in St Helens, was sentenced to 10 years in prison
  • James Brown, 31, of Centenary Close in Liverpool, also received a 10-year prison sentence
  • Olatunde Ademuyiwa, 31, of Purbeck Road in Bournemouth, was jailed for eight years
  • Stephen McDonald, 38, of Hanlon Close in Bournemouth, was also ordered to serve eight years in prison
  • Shaun Lewis, 27, of Leybourne Avenue in Bournemouth, was jailed for seven years and four months
  • Sean Garcia, 30, of Osborne Road in Liverpool, was sentenced to six years
  • Richie McDonald, 35, of Granville Road in Poole, was sentenced to 32 months
  • David Murphy, 34, of Stranraer Road in Wigan, who was also convicted of possession of a stun gun, was jailed for five years
  • Carl Norton, 41, of Turbary Park Avenue in Bournemouth, who was also convicted of burglary and possessing Class A drugs and a knife, was jailed for five years
  • Craig Biddle, 27, of no fixed address, is due to be sentenced in April