Dealers jailed after Longridge drug raid

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Two drug dealers arrested in a high-profile drugs raid in Longridge have each been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Ashley Gerrard, 24, and Anthony Gornall, 22, were arrested following the search of a property in Mersey Street, Longridge, on June 19 last year, during which Class A drugs worth over 2000 were seized.

Police swooped on the rented property after neighbours became concerned with activities at the house.

Among the haul of drugs were two large bags of cocaine with a street value of 2,132.

A smaller quantity of the drug and 240 worth of cannabis was also discovered.

Weighing scales and a number of mobile phones were seized from the property and later police found a series of text messages on Gerrard's phone offering the sale of the drug.

Preston Crown Court heard the two self-confessed former drug addicts were suffering from mounting debts after buying drugs on credit.

Counsel for the pair claimed they had not stood to profit from their drug dealing and had fallen into selling drugs to pay back their suppliers and fund their own habits.

But judge Beverley Lunt told the pair drug selling of any kind was a serious offence.

She said: "There has never been a valid reason to become drug dealers and you must have known if you were caught you would go to prison.

"You were prepared to take the risk now you must be prepared for the consequences."

She added there could be no denial the selling of cocaine was not for commercial gain.

Another two people, Michael Crossthwaite, 19, of Mersey Street and Fiona Duxbury, 22, of Fellbrow, the named tenants at the property at the time of the raid, were both given 52-week sentences, suspended for two years, after admitting allowing the premises to be used for supplying the drugs.

The pair also pleaded to possession of cannabis.

Ms Kath Johnson, defending Duxbury, said she was a "terrified young girl" whose mistake was failing to act when she found out what had been going on.

Ms Johnson added Duxbury's involvement had been "out of character" and she had learnt a very serious lesson.

Duxbury broke down in tears as the sentences were read out.

Father-of-one Gerrard, of Hawthorn Road, Ribbleton, and Gornall, of Lee Street, Longridge, were sentenced to three years and four months after admitting charges relating to conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Further charges against Gerrard and Gornall and another defendant Rachel Cox, 22, Fairsnape Avenue, Longridge, were ordered to remain on file.

Speaking after the sentence Inspector Chris Saville of Ribble Valley police said: "This case was the result of intelligence from local residents and the sentences reflect the crimes committed.

"We will continue with our determined approach to stamp our drugs in our local community.

"We will continue to act at every opportunity to obtain warrants and take positive action.