A WOMAN has been found guilty of helping her husband and a former police officer run a County Lines drug operation in Devon.
Jacqueline Harrison bought a phone online and an unregistered SIM card from a local shop which her husband Warren used to contact ex-policeman Gary Parkinson.
Parkinson started running the cocaine supply business a few months after leaving the Greater Manchester force. He had already moved to Devon and set up a dog training business while he was on sick leave and full pay before he left the force.
He was invalided out of the GMP after a severe back injury interrupted his 15-year career and left him only fit for desk duties. He went on long-term sick because of his injuries and depression.
Parkinson lived near Holsworthy in North Devon but had previously stayed with his parents in Crediton and set up the drug conspiracy in the town with a local man named Benjamin Mennell-Flisher.
He still had connections with Manchester and shared an interest in carp fishing with Warren Harrison, who is an internationally famous angler who has held several world and British records for the largest fish ever caught.
Parkinson and Warren Harrison were caught when Harrison was acting as courier and bringing a half a kilo of cocaine, worth up to £40,000, from his home in Manchester to Crediton.
Parkinson himself was stopped in a car with £7,000 cash and a dealer’s list of customers who apparently owed him money.
The conspiracy started in November 2019 when Parkinson travelled to Manchester to meet Harrison and set up the supply line.
It carried on until Harrison was stopped near Tiverton on January 14, 2020.
Harrison’s nickname was Waz and he was driving a VW Transporter van with the registration WAZ 37.
Parkinson, aged 42, of Fords Mill, Clawton, near Holsworthy; Warren Harrison, aged 61, of St Peter’s Drive, Hyde; and Benjamin Mennell-Flisher, aged 29, of High Street, Crediton, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine. They will all be sentenced later.
Harrison’s wife Jacqueline, aged 61, of the same address, denied encouraging or assisting an offence but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court. She will also be sentenced later.
Mr Richard Posner, prosecuting, said Parkinson was a former Greater Manchester Police officer who returned to the city to source drugs which Harrison delivered in a series of nine trips before his arrest.
He said Harrison was intercepted at Tiverton as he headed for a meeting with Parkinson and Mennell-Flisher at Shobrooke Park, near Crediton.
He had a black “burner” phone which had been bought by his wife.
Parkinson was found with £7,000 cash in a black bag in his van alongside a list of customers with amounts ranging from £2,500 to £11,700 next to their names.
Four names corresponded to initial stored in his phone. The amounts corresponded with sales in multiples of an ounce.
Police recovered a recording from the dashcam of Harrison’s van in which he tells an unknown passenger that he needed to be paid £500 a trip because the fuel alone was costing him £150.
The 499.99 grams of 77 per cent purity cocaine, which had been pressed and stamped with the letter A was worth at least £18,000 wholesale and £40,000 if it was cut and bagged up for street sales.
Surveillance showed Parkinson visiting Mennell-Flisher’s home and that of his parents in Tuckers Meadow, Crediton, which was listed as an address in Harrison’s satnav.
Mr Posner said CCTV from a shop near Jacqueline Harrison’s home showed her buying a top-up for the unregistered SIM only “burner” phone which her husband used to communicate with Parkinson.
Jacqueline Harrison told the jury she bought the phone for her 75-year-old mother but did not give it to her because her brother gave her a better one instead.
She said she thought her husband had gone fishing on the day he was arrested and had called the police to try and trace him when he did not answer his phone.
She said she had no idea that her husband had taken the Nokia phone or how Parkinson got the number and used it to contact him.