Five men have been sentenced this week at Burnley Crown Court, following a county line drugs investigation by Cumbria Police, assisted by West Yorkshire Police.

The West Yorkshire crime group, branding itself ‘Striker’, flooded South Cumbria with crack cocaine and heroin between 26th July and 9th September 2021 and exploited children as young as fourteen to traffic drugs from Bradford to Barrow-in-Furness.

Asim Hussain (21) of Waterlily Road, Bradford, the head of the crime group, was sentenced to eight years in prison and made subject of a Serious Crime Prevention order for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering.

Adil Hussain (19) of Waterlily Road, Bradford, brother of Asim, was sentenced to a 12-month community order for money laundering.

Jibram Rahman (27) of Round Street, Bradford, drugs courier, was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

Abaas Ali (31) of Lower Edge Road, Brighouse, Calderdale, drugs courier, was sentenced to four years in prison for conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin, and money laundering.

Simon Harrison (36) of Furness Drive, Illingworth, Halifax, street dealer, was sentenced to two years and three months for possession with intent to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

Two other persons – Matthew Murphy (20), street dealer, of Cloth Hall Street, Huddersfield, and Kelly Newby (41), ‘houser’, of Lesh Lane, Barrow-in-Furness – were sentenced at an earlier hearing for their roles in the conspiracy. A further defendant – Nathan Wharton (33), street dealer, of Egerton Court, Barrow – has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply but is yet to be sentenced.

The investigation started when police raided an address in Lesh Lane, Barrow on 26 July 2021 after reports of drug dealing in the area. As officers entered the flat, belonging to Kelly Newby, they found Matthew Murphy in the hallway and on the phone to Asim Hussain. A total of £1,235 in cash – the proceeds of earlier drug deals – was seized from the living room. Murphy’s phone showed he was taking instruction from Asim Hussain via text message, including messages such as: “Wen should I pass d white [crack cocaine].”

On 7 August a 15-year-old child travelled from Bradford to Barrow at the behest of the crime group, in order to transport and deal drugs. This child was joined by a further child, aged 16, on the evening of the 8 August, again to facilitate drug supply in Barrow on behalf of the crime group.

On 11 August the 16-year-old child was found on Ramsden Dock Road, Barrow in company with Nathan Wharton. Wharton was in possession of a hand axe, £340 cash, 24 wraps of crack cocaine, and 36 wraps of heroin, and was arrested. The child was in possession of a phone that subscribed to Adil Hussain and showed frequent contact with the crime group.

Between 18 and 25 August a blue Nissan Micra travelled from Bradford to Barrow on five separate occasions to convey and deal Class A drugs in Barrow on behalf of the group. On 25 August the Nissan Micra was stopped by the police near Ulverston. Street dealer Simon Harrison, and drugs couriers Abaas Ali and Jibram Rahman, were within the vehicle. All three claimed they had travelled over that day in order to visit the beach. Officers thought this story unlikely so decided to search the Micra’s occupants. When Rahman was searched, he was found in possession of 40 wraps of heroin and 54 wraps of crack cocaine containing Asim Hussain’s fingerprints, and a large sheath knife was hidden under the seat in front of him.

On 1 September a 14-year-old child travelled from Bradford to Barrow via the rail network. Text messages recovered from his phone showed that he was in frequent contact with the crime group on the outward journey conveying drugs to Barrow, and was expecting to collect cash for the journey back – and that he was nervous about the job, telling a friend who tried to dissuade him from making the journey “I have to”. He was seen acting suspiciously by rail staff and stopped by British Transport Police at Lancaster railway station, where he was found to be in possession of £1,000 cash.

The final phase of the investigation occurred on 7th October 2021. Cumbria and West Yorkshire police teams jointly raided an address in Waterlily Road, Bradford – the home address of Asim and Adil Hussain. Key evidence was recovered including mobile phones used throughout the conspiracy to coordinate the drug supply and exploitation of children. When these phones were examined, evidence was found showing Asim Hussain was concurrently running two additional drug supply operations into Bradford and Barnsley. Over £2,000 in cash was also seized from Adil Hussain’s bedroom.

A spokesperson from Cumbria’s south area Community Serious and Organised Crime Unit said: “The Hussain brothers’ drug operation exploited the most vulnerable in society, for profit. They used children to traffic drugs into the county, and they made money from Cumbrians struggling with addiction.

“The investigation against this criminal group was lengthy and complex, and the strength of the evidence against Asim Hussain in particular – which ultimately led him to plead guilty to the full facts of the prosecution case rather than elect for trial – was achieved in partnership with West Yorkshire Police and the British Transport Police.

“I hope these sentences send a strong message to those selling Class A drugs into south Cumbria: we will pursue you, arrest you, and prosecute you no matter where you live.”


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