THREE men have been jailed for their part in a conspiracy which police believe brought £90,000 worth of class A drugs into Flintshire communities.

James Douglas, of Pearce Close in Liverpool, Connor Higgins, of Towcester Street in Litherland, Sefton, and Ian Gerrard Heyes, of No Fixed Abode, appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday.

The three had each admitted conspiracy to supply a class A controlled drugs diamorphine (heroin) and crack cocaine at a previous hearing.

John Philpotts, prosecuting, told the court the three had been involved in a county lines drugs conspiracy operating under the name "Scouse Mick".

Their involvement spanned some two months from mid June 2020 onwards and saw the use of a phone to send out bulk messages to known drug users advertising substances for delivery to their door.

Mr Philpotts said the phone was most active in the Connah's Quay area.

All three of the men travelled into North Wales, with police being able to detect at least 37 confirmed journeys.

CCTV captured local men, known to be class a drug users, approaching the group's vehicles at least twice.

The conspiracy came to an end when in August of 2020 police officers stopped a Ford Focus and arrested 28-year-old Douglas and 32-year-old Heyes.

95 packages of heroin and 150 packages of crack cocaine were recovered from Douglas.

The court heard he had "plugged them," which refers to the practice of drugs being moved from one place to another hidden in body cavities.

Police also later arrested 30-year-old Higgins and all defendants game no comment at interview.

It was estimated that the group had supplied approximately £90,000 worth of class A drugs during the period of operation.

Ian Whitehurst, defending Heyes, asked the court to consider the issue of totality - given his client was already in custody for a drugs offence dealt with by Liverpool Crown Court in 2021.

He said the dad-of-two is "remorseful" for his actions, which will now have "dramatic consequences" for his family.

Simon Rogers, defending Higgins, said: "He is lightly convicted and these offences are entirely out of character for him.

"The real sadness for him is that he has a partner and two children. His involvement in this offence means he will now spend time away from them and that will be the greatest punishment.

"This defendant became involved due to his addiction to cocaine - an addiction which spiralled out of control. "He had a substantial debt and felt the only option was to work for those who supplied him with drugs to pay off that debt."

Owen Edwards, defending Douglas, said: "Since he has had more opportunities than others and has done well in the past off his own efforts, he carries a particular guilt for taking part in this crime.

"He has worked all his life [but] he succumbed to the use of cocaine in large quantities.

"He was trying to pay significant cocaine debts at the start of the covid pandemic, when he joined this enterprise."

Judge Timothy Petts told the three custodial sentences for their offending was "inevitable" and that the drugs have a "devastating effect on communities in North Wales."

He jailed all three, with Higgins and Douglas receiving 40 month sentences each and Heyes receiving a two year sentence consecutive to his ongoing prison time.

Investigating Officer PC Chris Wynne of the North Wales Police Central Tasking Unit said: “I welcome the sentences imposed by Judge Timothy Petts today taking into account the early guilty pleas made by the defendants to prevent trial.

“The ‘Scouse Mick’ County Line blighted communities across Flintshire over the course of several months and this operation highlighted great collaborative work with neighbouring forces such as the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and Merseyside Police in bringing Heyes, Higgins and Douglas to justice.

“North Wales Police relentlessly pursues those who cause harm to our communities on a daily basis and we will continue to make North Wales a hostile environment for those who seek to engage in criminal activity.

“Our commitment to work with neighbouring forces highlights our pursuit of those who distribute drugs as part of Organised Crime Group and we will continue to safeguard individuals who may be at risk.”