North West Regional Organised Crime Unit

Operation Caddisfly

This was an investigation into a million pound drug importation into the North West.

This operation centred on three Merseyside men involved in a million-pound drugs conspiracy .

The investigation focused on the activities of the gang, who were HGV drivers based in Skelmersdale and were frequent drivers to Europe.

Between June 2011 and their arrest in August 2011 they made 15 trips to Europe via Dover and Dunkirk.

Titan worked closely with the UK Borders Agency throughout the investigation to identify a pattern of movement between the UK and Europe.

On August 11, 2011, two of the gang travelled to Europe via Dover, returning on August 12. They were followed from Dover back to Skelmersdale where they transferred the drugs from the HGV to the boot of a car. Later that morning they met another member of the group to hand the drugs over and were subsequently arrested.

Officers seized 4kg of cocaine with up to 60 per cent purity and 3.5kg of heroin with up to 48 per cent purity. The drugs, which were destinated for the streets of the North West, had been transported in a sophisticated hide within the HGV and had an estimated street value of £1.65 million.

All three pleaded guilty and were jailed for more than 28 years at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, February 17, 2012.

One of the group was also sentenced for his part in running a cannabis farm in Staffordshire containing 215 cannabis plants. On 14th August 2012 David Houghton was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment for his role in running the cannabis farm.