Drugs trial underway

NINE people have gone on trial accused of drugs or money laundering offences.

Anthony Diprose, 26, of Roeburn Drive, Morecambe, was the “effective head of a criminal gang which deals with illegal drugs” in the Lancaster and Morecambe areas, Preston Crown Court was told.

Mr Andrew Nuttall, prosecuting, told a jury Diprose appeared in the dock alongside eight other defendants who were accused of connected drug conspiracy or money laundering offences.

Mr Nuttall said police had carried out searches at a series of properties in Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham over a period of almost a year.

He said officers had uncovered quantities of cocaine and cannabis and equipment relating to drug preparation, including mixing agents, hydraulic presses and ‘tick lists’ alleged to show customers who had bought drugs.

Mr Nuttall added some of the defendants were accused of money laundering cash made from crime.

He said: “These are serious allegations. No tax was paid.

“Some of these defendants have lived off crime.

“Other defendants have helped out by allowing their bank accounts to be used to launder sums of money.

“In each case, the Crown says their actions are not explicable in common sense or legally.”

Anthony Diprose, his brother Jason Diprose, 25, of Austwick Road, Lancaster, and Brian Coulton, 20, of Tarnsyke Road, Lancaster, all denied conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Anthony Diprose also pleaded not guilty to converting criminal property. Andrew Gunningham, 30, of Ryelands Road, Lancaster, denies conspiracy to supply cannabis.

Lynda Padgett, 45, of South Grove, Morecambe, Katie Noon, 24, and Paul Noon, 30, both of Austwick Road, Lancaster, and Rachel Lynch, 41, and Paul Lynch, 45, both of Tarnbrook Road, Lancaster, all deny converting criminal property.