Blackpool man spared jail for part in cannabis ring

Former Darwen AFC manager Kenny Langford was jailed for running an organised drugs gang.

Former Darwen AFC manager Kenny Langford was jailed for running an organised drugs gang.

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A Blackpool man was part of an organised drug dealing ring that was smashed by police.

Seven people, including a former football manager, were sentenced for their roles in flooding the streets of Lancashire with cannabis.

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

Michael Yates, 63, of Holmfield Avenue, North Shore, was spared jail for his part in the plot.

The crime gang was rumbled as part of Operation Galant, one of Lancashire Police’s biggest drugs supply investigations in recent times.

Preston Crown Court heard Kenny Langford, 48, a former manager of Darwen AFC, headed up the operation from his East Lancashire home.

His sons Daniel, 24, and Ben, 27, were also jailed for their part in the family-run business.

We absolutely will not tolerate drug dealing in our communities

Det Insp Mark Vaughton

Police said the gang was “very organised” and responsible for flooding Lancashire with a “huge amount” of cannabis.

Det Insp Mark Vaughton said: “We absolutely will not tolerate drug dealing in our communities.

“No-one is untouchable and we will continue to use all the criminal and civil legislation at our disposal to put individuals involved in such criminality behind bars.”

The family hired people to help produce the drugs. Yates helped by watering the plants, the court heard.

He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cannabis and was given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also a given a 12-month supervision order and a six-week curfew.

Kenny Langford of Cranberry Fold Court, Darwen, was jailed for four years and six months after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Daniel Langford, 24, of Priory Grange, Darwen admitted two counts of being concerned in the production of cannabis He has been sentenced to two years and three months for each offence to run concurrently.

Benjamin Langford, 27, of Brindley Street, Pendlebury, Manchester, got two years and nine months in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Two other men were also jailed for their involvement. Nicola Ricioppo, 67, of Clitheroe Road, Whalley, pleaded guilty to producing cannabis and Darren Burrows, 41, of Anyon Street, Darwen, admitted conspiracy to supply the drug. They were jailed for two years and three months and three years respectively.

A seventh man, Jonathan Taylor, 32, of Tunnel Street, Darwen, received a suspended sentence.