A FATHER and son have been jailed after being found to be involved in a drugs conspiracy around Astley and Tyldesley.

Following an investigation by Greater Manchester Police's Salford Challenger Team, Antony Peers, 57, and his son, also called Antony Peers, 37 (05/02/1987) were jailed for 4 years 6 months and 8 years 3 months respectively for their part in the drugs conspiracy.

The sentences are the latest in the Challenger Team’s investigation into the conspiracy, which has focused on the use of encrypted mobile phones used by organised criminal networks.

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Leigh Journal: Nets used for drying cannabis found at the homeNets used for drying cannabis found at the home (Image: GMP)
Following a major breakthrough by law enforcement in 2020, the 'Encrochat' communication system was dismantled and officers have been working to reveal the users' true identities.

In this case, the younger Antony Peers used the Encrochat handle ‘Tubbyfern’ to communicate with others and organise the wholesale acquisition and supply of cocaine and cannabis, while also operating cannabis farms.

His father Antony also played a vital role in the operation, using a hydraulic press to mix and re-press blocks of cocaine in his garage at North Lane in Astley. There was also evidence of a cannabis farm at his address.

His son lived only a few doors down as police discovered that the family owned several houses on North Lane and the surrounding area.  

Leigh Journal: Officers found 'sniff proof' snap bagsOfficers found 'sniff proof' snap bags (Image: GMP)
Together, the father and son were criminal associates of Ricky Lee and Christopher Gresty of Salford who have already been convicted for their part in the conspiracy.

On 16 March 2023, officers executed five search warrants and arrested the pair.

Police seized drugs, wardrobes full of designer clothes, a Range Rover Evoque, mountain bikes, a Rolex watch & jewellery; a 30-tonne hydraulic press and cannabis growing equipment were also seized.

A Proceeds of Crime Hearing will take place later in the year.

Leigh Journal: High value items were seized as well as drug paraphernaliaHigh value items were seized as well as drug paraphernalia (Image: GMP)
Detective Constable Steven Walker of GMP Challenger Team said: “We believe these men have been operating this enterprise for years and I am pleased to say that it has now been brought to an end.

"The sentences today reflect the severity of their crimes and the misery and violence that illegal drugs inflict on our communities.

“We are committed to tackling the illegal drugs trade and rely on information provided by members of the public. If you have information about drug dealing in your area, I urge you to report it to police."

You can do so via GMP’s website here or by calling 101.

Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency.