Drugs gang claimed cutting agent for heroin was to make 'sports drink'

Drugs gang claimed they were making a ‘sports drink’ after police found UK’s biggest ever haul of powder used to cut heroin as they are jailed for 40 years

  • Police found cutting agents to be used with heroin while investigating a fire 
  • Marc Talbot, Paul Witter, Richard McDonough and Joseph Manley were arrested 
  • Each said that others in the gang lied to them about their role at industrial unit
  • They have been jailed for conspiring to supply heroin across north-west England 

A drugs gang who claimed to be making a ‘sports drink’ when police found a vast supply of powder used to cut heroin have been jailed for 40 years.

Officers discovered 375 kilos of adulterant in the country’s biggest ever haul at an industrial unit in Wigan, Greater Manchester.

Paracetamol, caffeine and food colouring to be used as a cutting agent were unearthed after firefighters attended a blaze at the site in October 2017. 

Manley (left) and McDonough (right) have been jailed for conspiracy to supply heroin across the north-west after police uncovered the huge haul in Wigan 

Witter (left) and Talbot (right) have been jailed after they and the other members of the gang turned on each other when they were arrested 

Four men have been jailed at Bolton Crown Court for their part in the conspiracy to manufacture and supply class A drugs across north-west England, Manchester Evening News reports.

Marc Talbot, 47, from Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan, was sentenced to 10 years for conspiring to supply heroin. Paul Witter, 41, from Wigan, was jailed for for conspiring to supply the Class A drug.

Richard McDonough, 52, from Birkenhead, Merseyside, was imprisoned for nine years for conspiring to supply heroin. Joseph Manley, 53, from Liverpool, was jailed for nine years for conspiring to supply the Class A substance.

Pictured: Equipment unearthed by Greater Manchester Police when they investigated the industrial unit in Wigan 

Talbot pulled up at the unit on October 26 when police were in attendance and told officers that he worked for Paul Witter but that he was holidaying in Tenerife. 

A search of the site uncovered DNA and fingerprints that belonged to Witter, McDonough, Talbot and Manley.

Paracetamol, caffeine, and 86 kilograms of brown powder along with blender bottles, fabric gloves and other manufacturing equipment, were found in Joseph Manley’s detached garage and within the house in July 2018.

Witter, McDonough, Manley, Talbot, were arrested on the same day on suspicion of conspiring to manufacture and supply class A drugs. The were later charged with conspiracy to supply Heroin.

Police released images (above) showing the adulterant (right) and manufacturing equipment unearthed at the industrial estate  

Each of them denied the charges as Manley and McDonough said that they were told that their job was to prepare a sports drink for an unnamed customer.

But Talbot and Witter accused McDonough of lying to them, saying he’d claimed that the unit was for a ‘bio fuel’ firm.  

Wigan Police’s Detective Sergeant Simon Monks said the criminals thought they were above the law and funded their lifestyles by supplying ‘a shocking amount of Class A drugs’. 

He said that the sentencing had stopped the ‘distribution of industrial amounts of heroin’ hitting the streets of Greater Manchester, Merseyside and beyond.

The officer added that the amount of heroin adulterant seized was unlike any other amount uncovered before in Britain.  


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