Leader of county lines drug gang who exploited vulnerable people jailed for eight years
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The leader of a county lines drug gang in Runcorn who exploited vulnerable people has been jailed.
William Crowney, known as Scott, used violence, threats and intimidation to deal crack cocaine and heroin in the town.
The 32-year-old, from Worcester Road, Bootle in Merseyside, forced drug users in the town to hold and distribute the drugs on the gang’s behalf.
He was sentenced to eight years and four months at Chester Crown Court on Monday 19 July 2021 after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin.
A large policing operation into the gang’s drug activities led to numerous warrants being executed 10 July 2019.
Crowney was arrested at an address on Thorn Road and a search of the property resulted in officers seizing MDMA, heroin and crack cocaine.
His mobile phone was also seized and examination of the device uncovered several video recordings showing the ill-treatment of local drug users.
PC Dawn Taylor, of Cheshire Constabulary’s proactive team in Runcorn, said: “Crowney was the ringleader of a gang who had a dominant force in supplying class A drugs from Merseyside into Runcorn.
“He subjected local drugs users to inhumane treatment, significant violence and serious harm as a means of enforcing his empire. His actions have had a lasting and life changing impact on his victims.
“Crowney and his gang would manipulate and force their way into the homes of vulnerable adults to use as a drugs den – a term known as cuckooing and very commonly used by organised crime groups running a county lines enterprise.
“It has been a long operation to uncover the drug activity and the exploitation used by this gang to get to those who controlled it. I must give credit to the victims who have shown courage and bravery in relaying what Crowney did to them and trusting in officers to ensure justice was served.
“To continue this work in driving organised crime out of Runcorn we need the support from the public. I want to encourage residents to keep reporting drug activity and to recognise the signs of it, and cuckooing, taking place.”
If you have information about drug activity in your area please report it anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or by contacting Cheshire Constabulary on 101 or visiting the website
For details on how to spot the signs of county lines drug dealing and cuckooing please visit our website