Breaking Shropshire Telford West Mercia

A gang responsible for supplying crack cocaine and heroin of an estimated street value of £182,000 in Ellesmere Port have been jailed.



Led by Michael Birch, 53, of Forge Road in Little Sutton, the gang of four were known as the ‘Birchy Team’.

Over several months Birch directed street dealers Ryan Huckle, Macauley Smith, Gary Beck to deal heroin and crack cocaine to users across the town.

When officers raided Birch’s home on 11 February, ‘graft’ phones used to sell drugs were discovered along with scales, £740 in cash, a cutting agent for heroin and lists of numbers for addicts in the area.

He was subsequently arrested along with Smith who was seen coming away from the address on Forge Road.

Smith was found to be in possession of £1,580 of crack cocaine and £960 of heroin. He also had a list of customers which matched the list found at Birch’s address.

Following analysis it was found that the phone discovered was linked to three other graft numbers which had been active since November 2020. Further evidence found that these phones belonged to Huckle, Beck and Smith.

The gang were arrested and subsequently charged before all pleading guilty at earlier hearings.

Birch and Smith were sentenced at Chester Crown Court on Thursday 1 April with Birch being handed a five year jail term while Smith received 28 months imprisonment.

Huckle was sentenced on 16 February to 27 months for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine while Gary Beck was jailed for 42 months for possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and heroin on 7 January.

Detective Constable Roy Wellings of the Ellesmere Port Beat Initiative Team said:“This gang was one of the busiest and largest heroin and crack cocaine supply team in Ellesmere Port at the time of operation.

“I welcome the sentencing handed down by the courts and hope that it acts as a deterrent to those who believe that they can get away with illegal drug activity in our town.

“We will continue to work tirelessly and do everything in our power to remove gangs like this from our streets to hope bring an end to the misery drugs bring to local communities.

“I would urge anyone with any concerns about illegal drug activity in their community to get in touch with Cheshire Police on 101.”