Re­porter saw raids and sen­tenc­ing

Macclesfield Express - - 3 PAGE SPECIAL REPORT -

EX­PRESS re­porter Stu­art Greer fol­lowed the op­er­a­tion from the early morn­ing raids to the sen­tenc­ing of Flana­gan and his gang.

Here he gives a first-hand ac­count of what hap­pened:

Last Septem­ber I was in­vited to wit­ness the next phase of on­go­ing op­er­a­tions aimed at clamp­ing down on the sup­ply of drugs in Cheshire.

A stag­ger­ing num­ber of police, some in full com­bat gear, oth­ers in plain clothes and body ar­mour, met in a se­cret lo­ca­tion out­side Mac­cles­field where a big screen showed photos of Thomas Flana­gan en­joy­ing a life of lux­ury on one of his ex­pen­sive Caribbean hol­i­days.

He, the room was told, was their ‘num­ber one tar­get’. Min­utes later I watched police smash their way into Flana­gan’s home, cuff him and bun­dle him away. For the last six months Flana­gan has sat in cus­tody wait­ing for the inevitable hefty prison sen­tence.

I was there at War­ring­ton Crown Court to see his drugs em­pire crum­ble into dust as the judge slammed him for his ruth­less ma­nip­u­la­tion of drug ad­dicts in Mac­cles­field to ped­dle nar­cotics and make him hun­dreds of thou­sands of pounds.

Flana­gan is a large, mus­cu­lar and in­tim­i­dat­ing in­di­vid­ual. But as the judge sen­tenced him to eight years in prison, he vis­i­bly shrunk in size.

Not even the police, who were there to see the re­sults of years of hard work, could bring them­selves to smile, know­ing that oth­ers will be lin­ing up to take their place. The war against one group of deal­ers has come to an end, but the war on drugs goes on. ●● POLICE op­er­a­tion that brought down an em­pire – page 8

●● Of­fi­cers are briefed on the morn­ing of the raids

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