THIRTEEN people charged in connection with drugs, firearms and money laundering allegations appeared in court .
The nine men and four women were at Preston Crown Court yesterday for a preliminary hearing to set a timetable for their case. Ten of the defendants are from the Mersey region. Legal experts estimated it would take a three month trial to deal with the defendants, who were arrested by the north west regional crime squad Titan in a series of raids last month.
Rachel Clarke, 35, of Westerdale Drive, Banks; Lynn Murphy, 41, of Whinberry Drive, Kirkby, and Claire Fisk, 36, of Grovewood Gardens, Whiston each took their place in court before being released on bail. All are charged with offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Paul Bennett, 36, of Pilling Close, Southport, who was also in court, was remanded in custody. He is charged with drugs and firearms offences.
Gordon Fisk, 37 of Grovewood Gardens, Whiston; Stephen Clarke, 44 of Westerdale Drive, Banks; Sean Johnson, 33, of Bank Street, Southport; and Paul Lawler, 35, of Westerdale Drive, Banks appeared via a video link from Preston Prison. Each is charged with firearms and drugs offences and was remanded in custody. Stephen Clarke and Peter Clarke, 34, of Glebelands, Tarleton, are also charged with Proceeds of Crime offences.
Mark Wyatt, aged 33, of Barkfield Avenue, Formby, charged with drug offences, also appeared via a video link from Preston Prison and was remanded in custody.
The Recorder of Preston, Judge Anthony Russell QC, set a provisional trial start date of March 25.