Pay back £100k in three months or get more jail
‘FAMILY AFFAIR’ DRUG GANG GIVEN ULTIMATUM BY JUDGE
MEMBERS of a drugs gang jailed after police smashed a huge cannabis conspiracy have been ordered to collectively pay back more than £100,000 within three months - or face further time in prison.
Five men and two women were sentenced last December after cannabis farms were seized in Salford, Blackley and Heywood.
A judge sitting at Manchester Crown Court set a sum of money they benefited from during a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.
Police said the drugs enterprise was masterminded by Ryan Ratcliffe and Ben Harding, who orchestrated it from their prison cells in Northern Ireland.
Both were serving three-year sentences at HMP Magilligan for their involvement in a plot to smuggle cannabis and cocaine into the country from Manchester at the time of the conspiracy.
A court heard that while in prison, they recruited family members - including their own mother and aunt - to help them continue the operation.
Detective Inspector Andrew Buckthorpe, of GMP’s city of Manchester division, said: “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.”
The gang, clockwise from top left, Ryan Ratcliffe, Ben Harding, Stephen Ratcliffe, Marie Ratcliffe, Amanda McCurdy, Joshua Williams, Ben Pickles