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SALFORD DRUG GANG ORDERED TO PAY BACK THEIR ILL-GOTTEN GAINS OR FACE MORE TIME IN PRISON AFTER £700,000 CANNABIS BUST

Local News
Seven people convicted of a large scale drugs conspiracy in Manchester have been ordered to pay back their ill-gotten gains or face further time in prison.

The total amount payable of £110,682 was split between the offenders and they were ordered to pay this back on Wednesday 7 November 2019 at Manchester Crown Court, under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)

Ryan Ratcliffe (26/03/1990) of Acer Grove, Salford was ordered to pay or face a further 10 months in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to produce cannabis and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to seven years and four months in prison.

Benjamin Harding (10/08/1991) of Bennet Drive, Salford was ordered to pay or face a further 10 months in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to produce cannabis and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to seven years and two months in prison. 

Amanda McCurdy (29/05/1973) of New Devonshire Square, Salford was ordered to pay or face a further 10 months in prison. She had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to produce cannabis and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to four years and four months in prison.

Joshua Williams (15/06/1990) of Milan Street, Salford was ordered to pay or face a further eight months in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis, conspiracy to produce cannabis, possession of cannabis with intent to supply and possession of amphetamine with intent to supply and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to six years in prison.

Marie Ratcliffe (25/03/1972) of Acer Grove, Salford was ordered to pay or face a further seven days in prison. She had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to produce cannabis and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to four years two months in prison.  

Stephen Ratcliffe (22/06/1969) of St Brelades Drive, Salford was ordered to pay or face a further seven days in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to produce cannabis and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to four years and eight months in prison. 

Benjamin Pickles (26/09/1991) of Argyle Street, Heywood was ordered to pay or face a further seven days in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to produce cannabis and was sentenced on Friday 21 December 2018 to five years and two months in prison.

The conspiracy is estimated to have produced 100kg of cannabis, with a street value of £700,000.

The enterprise was masterminded by Ryan Ratcliffe and Ben Harding, who were both serving inmates at HMP Magilligan in Northern Ireland throughout the period of the conspiracy.

Detective Inspector Andrew Buckthorpe, of GMP’s City of Manchester Division, said:

Quote

 

“The decision at Wednesday’s hearing comes as a result of months of hard work by officers and financial investigators, dedicated to making these offenders pay for the gloom their drug businesses inflicted on law-abiding members of the public.

“I hope this serves as a deterrent to those people who wish to pursue this illicit line of work by showing them that not only will we be coming for you to lock you up, but also to hit you directly in the pocket.

“Continuing to tackle the influx of drugs in the area will remain a top priority for GMP and we will do all we can to bring offenders to justice, however we cannot do this alone and I would appeal directly to the community to please come forward with any information that could assist us in what continues to be an ongoing operation.”

 

On the 27 July 2017, police were called to reports of a disturbance at an address on Crab Lane in Blackley.

The house was searched and it was found to contain 61 cannabis plants, as well as a selection of equipment used in the cultivation of the drug including lights, fans, transformers, fertiliser, thermometers and compost.

While in prison Ryan Ratcliffe had instructed a close associate, Joshua Williams, to run the cannabis farm. At the property there was evidence of at least four previous cannabis crops having been grown. Each crop would have been capable of producing up to 7 kg of cannabis, and each kilo sold for between £5,300 and £5,500 – bringing the estimated value of cannabis growth at this property to over £150,000.

Ryan Ratcliffe also recruited his mother, Marie Ratcliffe, to help facilitate the conspiracy. She assisted with paying the rent on the Crab Lane property and she paid the other people involved on behalf of her son.

In November 2017, officers executed warrants at addresses in Salford and Heywood and discovered two further cannabis farms. Two men involved in cultivating and supplying the drugs, Benjamin Pickles and Stephen Ratcliffe, were arrested inside the addresses.

Throughout the conspiracy, co-accused Amanda McCurdy was involved in the production of cannabis, acting as a financial support for the operation and involved in the supply of the drug. She was arrested following the discovery of over £16,000 worth of cannabis at a property on New Devonshire Square in Salford.

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KARL



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