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Liverpool-run drugs gang jailed

February 19, 2013, 1:25 pm

A drugs gang selling heroin on the streets of Weston-super-Mare is set to spend more than 12 years behind bars.

Two men from Liverpool and one woman from Weston were sentenced on Friday (February 15), with a second woman due for sentence in March.

David McVeigh, age 34, co-ordinated the supply of heroin to Weston while 29-year-old fellow Liverpudlian Daniel O’Brien was responsible for holding the drugs and cash on McVeigh’s behalf.  O’Brien also dealt the drug within the town.  They both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.  McVeigh was sentenced to six years while O’Brien was sentenced to four years and nine months.

Melanie Tomkinson, age 37, from Baildon Road in Weston, and Melissa Cutler, age 42, from Wadham St, pleaded guilty to the same offences after they allowed the two Liverpudlians to use their homes as bases to deal from.  Both women dealt the drug in return for payment in the form of heroin.  Tomkinson was sentenced to two years.

Daniel O’Brien and the two Weston women all paid the cash proceeds of the drugs they sold directly into the bank account of David McVeigh.

The organised crime group is the second to be jailed in as many months: in December, three men from Liverpool and one man from Weston were jailed for a total of 17 years for the same offences.  The ringleader of that group, Thomas Dean, has since become the subject of a Restraining Order, which bans him from Weston for 20 years.

Detective Sergeant Saj Rizvi leads North Somerset’s Targeting Team.  He said: “This is a very similar case to the group jailed last December – both were run by Liverpudlians who targeted people in Weston to sell their heroin.

“In both cases, we were on to them very quickly.  We know when the wrong people arrive here and are determined Weston won’t be an easy target for them.

“Not only has the strength of evidence we have gathered meant both groups have pleaded guilty to the more serious offence of conspiracy to supply, meaning longer jail terms, but the work of our Financial Investigator will ensure they are stripped of any assets or cash they made in their short time here.

“Hopefully, that sends out a very strong message not only to people in Weston that we pull out all the stops to lock these people up, but also to the drug dealers themselves not to risk coming here.”

The group’s conviction follows an eight-month investigation by North Somerset’s plain clothes Targeting Team in which a series of warrants were carried out resulting in drugs, cash, bank paying-in books and mobile phones being seized.

Daniel O’Brien and Melissa Cutler have been in custody since a warrant was carried out at her flat in Wadham Street last September.  While searching the flat, police found £1,680 stashed in a pillowcase where she was sleeping, and a further £300 hidden in a trainer in the living room.  Daniel O’Brien was asleep in the same flat with a meat cleaver and kitchen knife next to him.  Suspecting they both had drugs concealed inside them, officers had them both x-rayed at hospital, where their suspicions were confirmed.

David McVeigh was arrested on September 11 and Melanie Tomkinson on September 14.

Like with the other group jailed in December, painstaking CCTV analysis of bank transactions and meticulous cross-referencing of taxi bookings and telecoms data was vital to secure conspiracy charges.

On sentencing the three, Judge Julian Lambert awarded a Crown Court Commendation to Weston-based PC Richard Grierson, who led the investigation.

In total, £60,000 was deposited into McVeigh’s bank account in Weston, Cleethorpes, Lancaster and Liverpool.  Around £55,000 was withdrawn from the same account, mainly at banks in Liverpool.

Confiscation Orders have been made against each of the defendants under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Last November, 34 schemes across the Avon and Somerset area received a share of £30,500 clawed back by the force following successful Confiscation Orders against convicted criminals.

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