Carlisle addict kicked out of his home by 'cuckoo' as drugs gang moved into city
A Carlisle drug addict was booted out of his home by a criminal “cuckoo” as a drugs gang set up camp in the city.
Up to £380,000 worth of heroin and cocaine is thought to have been peddled to desperate users across Carlisle, during a slick supply plot which ran for almost two years.
But detectives smashed the drugs ring, rounding up seven key players who were sentenced at Carlisle Crown Court.
Immediate jail terms totaling almost 46 years were handed down following yet another illegal trafficking operation between Merseyside and north Cumbria.
Michael Brady, prosecuting, told a packed courtroom: “This was a well-organised, long-running and highly-profitable enterprise.
“A conservative estimate of the value of the drugs sold is between a quarter of a million and £380,000.”
The enterprise, said Mr Brady, was headed by Liverpool-based Ryan Doforo – jailed for 14-and-a-half years.
It also involved three other criminal associates from Merseyside – Kevin Thompson, 31, Freedom Close, Liverpool, who received eight years in prison; Michael O’Rourke, 27, of Starbrook Way, Southport, seven years and 23-year-old Nicalao Sindani, of no fixed address, who was locked up for five years.
O’Rourke, the court heard, became a “cuckoo” – evicting debt-ridden Carlisle criminal Christopher Hill from his Toronto Street home, in Currock, which became a base for the illegal drugs supply operation.
Ringleader Doforo, of Chislehurst Avenue, Liverpool, and his co-conspirators used a single mobile phone number to peddle their wares.
“Once a suitable address from which to operate had been identified, those using the number notified drug users by sending out a group message saying the were open for business – and then waited for orders to be placed,” said Mr Brady.
Kirsty Cartwright, 29, of Millholme Avenue, Carlisle, provided local knowledge as a 300-name drug addict directory was assembled.
“Between May 2015 and January 2017, a total of 808 group messages was sent at an average of 38 a month,” Mr Brady continued.
“Each message being received by an average of 39 drug users.”
Cartwright – jailed for six years and four months – “involved herself in the supply of drugs for a considerable period of time” the court heard and topped up the business phone.
A fingerprint of hers was found on a bank note on a roll of £1,770 cash discovered in a washing machine at Toronto Street.
Andrew Beard, 39, of Newtown Road, Gretna, was a “heavy user” of heroin and cocaine and received a five-year jail term. He had lived in Carlisle’s Montreal Street, topped up the mobile phone and acted as Doforo’s driver.
Police made a number of modest drug and cash seizures as they rounded up the conspirators.
However, Judge Peter Davies concluded it was not unreasonable to assume that 3kg of cocaine and heroin was sold during the conspiracy.
Philip Andrews, defending Cartwright, said she had been “in a bad place” at the time.
During a “dark period of her life”, she became involved in the criminal enterprise.
“She accepts her part in this. She bitterly regrets it. She is very sorry,” said Mr Andrews, who spoke of “considerable” recent progress while in prison.
Clare Thomas gave mitigation for Beard, who also admitted a burglary in Silloth and theft from a Carlisle shop.
He had been a steel erector who lost his job after testing positive for methadone.
“He was offending then (during the plot) to fund his drug addiction,” Miss Thomas said of the father-of-five.
“He has had a significant drug addition for many years since the age of 21.”
Daniel Prowse, for Hill, acknowledged the offences on his record – 66 in total and said: “He is a man with previous convictions – but none for drugs – who was involved for a very short period under significant pressure.”
Suspending Hill’s two-year prison term for two years, Judge Davies concluded he was “exploited by others”.
“Your will was trampled on by your fellow conspirators, who treated you with contempt. You were quite plainly out of your league,” said the judge.
Hill must complete a six-month night-time curfew and a rehabilitation requirement.
Judge Davies referred to a statement provided by police about the harm posed by drugs to those living in the Carlisle area.
“The community impact of such offending has been depressingly familiar,” he said.
“Those who live in poverty become desperate and resort to crime. The impact on the subject economy and the local community is devastating.”