Heroin-trafficking grandads drug gang lived in luxury while collecting benefits

A heroin-trafficking grandad who was jailed this week partied with his gang in Las Vegas while they claimed benefits.

Stanley Feerick, 68, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court after he used his job as a lorry driver as a cover to transport the Class A around the country.

He was also found to be part of an organised crime group that produced amphetamine and dealt the drug in a Costco car park.

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But it's not the first time Feerick has run into trouble with the law – the pensioner was also jailed 10 years ago after he was unmasked as the leader at the heart of a money laundering scheme worth £350,000, Liverpool Echo reported.

Feerick, then 59, was one of six people jailed in the scheme which saw one conspirator, Edna Fairclough, claim incapacity benefit despite living a luxury lifestyle, including a trip to Las Vegas.

Police who raided the home Fairclough and Feerick shared in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, found Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Prada handbags along with Vivienne Westwood jewellery and a diamond ring worth £27,885, among other valuables.

Officers also discovered £126,005 in cash in separate packages – £89,800 was found in a red Henry bag in the kitchen, £13,940 in a carrier bag on the living room floor, and a further £12,890 in a Harvey Nichols shopping bag.

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Feerick was given two years in prison following the heist, while Fairclough was handed a 15-month sentence.

Feerick has now been jailed again after a clandestine probe, named Operation Joyfully, was set up to investigate an organised crime group run by Terence Earle.

The 49-year-old "enlisted the help of subordinates" like Feerick to carry out his dodgy dealings, involving the import of drugs "from Europe and beyond" and a "secret laboratory" in Scotland.

Feerick was arrested in November 2020, during which time police also found around £300,000 worth of Class As and £20,000 in Scottish bank notes during a search of an HGV being used by the organised crime group.

The operation was brought to a grinding halt when Lancashire Police seized 560kg of alpha-phenylacetoacetamide (APAA), a chemical used to make amphetamine, in December 2020 – a quantity that would have made around 1,000kg of the drug, worth £1.1million.

Police also searched Feerick's home and found a further £9,370, while conversations on the encrypted messaging system EncroChat revealed the outfit had been involved in shipping cocaine between England and Scotland.

Feerick pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply heroin and participating in the activities of an organised crime group before receiving an eight-and-a-half-year sentence.

The Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "You plainly worked closely with Terence Earle. The role played by you was an important one.

"Plainly you were playing an operational function, liaising between others. You were using your employment as a HGV driver as a cover, and you plainly had an awareness of the scale of the operation.

"This was serious offending. You knew full well what you were doing and the consequences of getting caught."

Earle was previously locked up for 16-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and conspiracy to produce amphetamine.

Three other co-conspirators, Stephen King, Stephen Singleton and Lee Baxter, also received jail time.

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