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A local family-run drugs gang who used a garden shed to package cocaine has been sentenced

A family-run drugs gang who used a garden shed to package cocaine has been sentenced.

Anthony Cooney (13/04/1979) of Rochdale Road East, Heywood enlisted the help of his uncle, John Lingard (11/11/1958) of Lochinver Grove, Heywood to run the enterprise.

The duo was joined by Samantha Farrelly (13/04/1978) of Chadwick Lane, Heywood, who allowed her former address on Millbank Street, Heywood to be used by Cooney as a cannabis farm.

Today, Friday 8 March 2019 at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court they were sentenced to a total of eight years in prison.

Following covert surveillance work, Farrelly’s was one of three domestic properties across Heywood raided in July 2017 as part of Operation Arkansas – a GMP investigation into the supply of cocaine and production and supply of cannabis on a commercial scale in the Heywood area. A cannabis farm comprising 27 plants was found at the property on Millbank Street, worth an estimated £13,900.

During the raid at Cooney’s home address on Rochdale Road East officers seized just under £7,000 in cash and cannabis with a street value of £13,500. At a property rented by him on Buckley Street, officers found a cannabis farm with 36 cannabis plants inside, worth an estimated £18,500.

In November 2017 a further warrant was executed at Lingard’s address on Lochinver Grove, where officers found that the garden shed at the rear of the property had been vital to the enterprise; containing all the paraphernalia needed to package the drug for sale.

At this property, officers also recovered a single-barrelled 12-guage hammer shotgun.

In December, a further warrant was executed at a rental storage company in Rochdale, where Cooney had rented a 20ft shipping container. Inside, was a large amount of items that could be used in the cultivation of drugs. The following items were seized:


  • 16 tents
  • 397 plant pots
  • 25 lighters
  • Nine filters
  • Three water tanks
  • Two fertilisers
  • Three carbon dioxide canisters
  • Eight fans
  • Two compost bags
  • 13 power packs
  • Four power banks
  • Two water pumps
  • Two chiller units