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abhorrent Gang that threatened to cut victim's ear off and blowtorch his testicles jailed for a total of 133 years

'I’d just walk in and I’ll just bang him and just tie him up, and cut his ear off and then tell him…I’ve been down your area and cut people up….Believe me I’ll blowtorch your balls and cut your ear off...'

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The six were jailed for a total of 133 years

The six were jailed for a total of 133 years

The six were jailed for a total of 133 years

A drug dealing crime group who planned to cut the ear off an elderly businessman and blowtorch his testicles have been jailed for a total of 133 years at Manchester Crown Court. 

The six men were busted after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation uncovered their role in the supply of cocaine and a separate plot to torture and rob the 82-year-old Manchester man.

The NCA captured covert recordings of Gary Betts (57) of Rye Bank Road, Firswood, Manchester, as he told associates that he had a “nice job” that would be “plenty of dough”.

He was joined by Gerard Boyle (also 57) of Eleanor Road, Manchester; brothers Chris and John Sammon, aged 32 and 35, of Moorcroft Drive and Dudley Road, Manchester; and Wayne Simmonds (39) of Oakwood Road, Bricket Wood, Hertfordshire.

The gang were recorded discussing the logistics of the robbery of their potential victims who they believed to be holding a substantial cash sum at their home in Greater Manchester.

They met at the office of Boyle, who was the registered director of a plastics recycling firm, where Betts was heard to say: “His dad’s an old man and there’s only one kid in the house…You’ve got to give him a f****** slap …you know what I mean? To tell you where the dough is.”

Simmonds, who used the EncroChat handle ‘peskybull’, agreed to carry out the robbery and discussed a contact who had bragged about emergency blue lights he had fitted to vehicles as he impersonated police to gain entry to people’s homes.

He was later described by Simmonds during the trial as someone “not to be messed with”.

An EncroChat phone was eventually recovered from Simmonds’ property and another man who was involved in the drug conspiracy, 35-year-old William Skillen, from Long Lane in Warrington, was also found to be an EncroChat user, using the handle ‘savagearrow’.

Further conversations between the men indicated they were willing to torture victims to acquire the money.

Betts said: “I’d just walk in and I’ll just bang him and just tie him up, and cut his ear off and then tell him…I’ve been down your area and cut people up….Believe me I’ll blowtorch your balls and cut your ear off…Put it this way I know an iron hurts in your chest.”

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Betts, Boyle, Simmonds, and the Sammons also discussed drug supply and pricing, including the purchase and sale of around five kilograms of cocaine.

Some 100 grams of cocaine, drugs paraphernalia including a drugs press and three kilograms of Boric acid were later discovered during searches of the Manchester business premises where their conversations were recorded, as well as a property on Sandgate Road, Southampton that was linked to Simmonds.

They were arrested along with Skillen on 11 May last year and following a seven-week trial all were found guilty of all charges on August 3.

NCA Operations Manager Jon Sayers said: “These men were clearly prepared to inflict shocking levels of violence to achieve their criminal ambitions, which included targeting an elderly man and his family.

“They used a legitimate business premises to plan their drug dealing and it became apparent that their links to this abhorrent trade, which causes violence and exploitation in our communities, were serious and organised.

“Simmonds and Skillen also thought using EncroChat would leave them beyond law enforcement’s reach, but they were wrong. We were monitoring the crime group and took action before they could cause any more harm.

“These sentences show that the NCA, working with partners like the Met Police flying squad and Greater Manchester Police, will relentlessly pursue perpetrators and bring them to justice.”

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