Trio sentenced for drugs offences

Friday, October 1, 2021

Three members of a Preston-based organised crime group have been jailed for more than 22 years for the supply of cocaine and heroin from Liverpool to Preston, Carlisle and Scotland. 

Wesley Harriot, Paul Harrison and Shaun Burns (pictured, left to right) appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday (Thursday, September 30).

The trio had been arrested by police as part of Operation Silk, a campaign by the Targeted Crime Unit, focusing on the supply of Class A drugs in the city run by the Harriot organised crime group.

Between April 1, 2020 and June 10, 2020, the group distributed kilo amounts of Class A Drugs between Liverpool, Preston, Carlisle and into Scotland.

Harriot used encrypted mobile phones known as EncroChat phones to communicate with his associates to organise the distribution of kilo amounts of Class A drugs.

The encrypted data was obtained by French authorities and disseminated to the National Crime Agency.

Harriot’s role within the conspiracy was to organise 11 drugs runs where he instructed couriers Paul Harrison and Shaun Burns to collect and distribute drugs from Liverpool, transporting the product to Preston, Carlisle and Scotland. In total 7kg of cocaine and 5kg of heroin were distributed at a wholesale price of between £264,000 and £405,580.

On average the drugs lines were making £2,000 a day and over the three month conspiracy period made a total of £182,000.

The trio were arrested and charged with conspiracy to supply a Class A drug – cocaine and conspiracy to supply a Class A drug – heroin.

• Harriot, 29, of no fixed address, was given an 11 and a half years.
• Burns, 29, of Parkfield Crescent, Lea, Preston was jailed for five years and four months.
• Harrison, 34, of no fixed address, was sentenced to six years.

Det Insp Roger Ashcroft, of Lancashire Police, said: “We are committed to tackling and disrupting drug-dealing activity and protecting vulnerable members of society.

“We would encourage anyone concerned about criminal activity in their area to contact the police, knowing that we will act on that information and take the appropriate action.”

Anyone with concerns about drug-dealing or any other criminal activity in their area can call police on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, Crimestoppers can be contacted, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.

A Proceeds of Crime Application has been made and scheduled for February 2022.

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