Ruthless drugs gang jailed

Gang leader Crimea Eugene Price
Gang leader Crimea Eugene Price
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A ruthless drugs gang who used guns and arson attacks to spread fear and misery across St Helens have been jailed for more than 97 years combined.

The leader of the eight-strong gang, Crimea Eugene Price, 34, was jailed for 25 years after he was convicted of conspiracy to possess a firearm with intent to endanger life, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Christopher Lunt, 27, and David Doolan, 28, were convicted of carbon-copy charges and jailed for 21-and-a-half years and 18 years respectively.

Five others - Christopher Kendall, 29, Norman Worrall, 58, Debbie Ballard, 43, Stephen Finney, 21, and Mark Jervis, 32 - were all convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs following a lengthy trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Three of the gang hail from St Helens - Ballard, of Cleveland Street, Finney, of Lambourne Grove, and Jervis, of Surrey Street. Price, of Tilbury Grove, Leeds, is formerly from St Helens.

Ballard was jailed for five years four months, Finney for five years and Jervis for four years.

The gang was behind two firearms discharges - on Leonard Street, Sutton, on February 14 last year and on Derbyshire Hill Road 13 days later.

They were also responsible for four arson attacks - on Leonard Street, Sutton, Wareing Avenue, Parr, Coronation Road, Windle, and Ann Street West in Widnes.

DS Richie Salter told how the gang showed a “complete disregard” for the lives of others and how, during the Leonard Street shooting, a five-year-old child was asleep inside a targeted caravan.

He said: “These people had access to firearms and were not afraid to use them. As part of the investigation detectives were able to confirm that this group was responsible for two firearms discharges in St Helens and four arson attacks.

“The drugs they supplied, with the help of others, will have caused untold misery. It is a circle of misery that serious criminals like these care nothing about. As long as they can line their pockets with the profits they make they don’t care about the consequences caused by the drugs they deal.

“Through their use of violence, these people also caused fear in their local community, but hopefully the sentences show that we can do something to stop these people from terrorising our streets.”

DS Salter added: “Since these people were arrested, residents have come forward and how much quieter it has been and how much safer they feel.

“My message to any community who may find themselves in this position is to come forward as soon as possible. We will do everything within our power to build up the evidence and take these type of people off the streets before they become a major problem.”