Two men found guilty of conspiring to supply cocaine in major drugs operation in the North West


Two men have been sentenced to a total of twelve years in prison for conspiring to supply cocaine as part of a major drugs operation in the North West.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that James Rushe, 54, of Runcorn Road, Moore, Cheshire and Mark Fishwick, 46, of Greencroft, Penwortham, Preston were involved with what was a much bigger drugs gang, based in Merseyside, Lancashire and Manchester that were importing large quantities of Class A and B drugs into Britain.

The activities of this gang were the subject of a major investigation by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit, TITAN and many of the gang have now been jailed.

Ben Southam, of the Crown Prosecution Service's Complex Casework Unit, said: "Rushe and Fishwick were involved in a smaller element of the operation and were responsible for receiving and then distributing a shipment of cocaine in March last year.

"But the shipment was intercepted by police and Rushe and Fishwick were traced via the seized mobile phones of the other gang members.

"The men both denied conspiracy to supply cocaine and claimed they were in touch with each other for legitimate reasons Rushe ran a go-karting arena and Fishwick had run an MOT centre.

"But the prosecution claimed that the men were in touch with each other to receive and distribute drugs. The jury agreed with that and found them guilty.

"They may have had a smaller part to play in what was a very extensive drugs operation but their hands were dirty and they're now paying the price.

"Drug dealing might appear to offer a high return but the risks are also high as are the punishments for those who get involved. Rushe and Fishwick despite having legitimate ways of earning money, chose to get involved in drugs and they have only themselves to blame."

A third man, Andrew Fetherston, 47, of Nelson Road, Rochdale, Manchester was earlier found not guilty of conspiracy to supply cocaine.