In a recent court case, Mark Redshaw, a 39-year-old former professional footballer with ties to Manchester United, was sentenced for his role in a significant amphetamine and cannabis operation.
Redshaw, who had a youth career with Manchester United, as well as stints with Wrexham and Manchester City, became entangled with a drug gang based in Darwen.
Led by Sam Stone and Zac Deaffern, the group orchestrated the importation of substantial quantities of drugs from mainland Europe.
Operating out of their headquarters at Hollins Grove Mill, the gang processed and distributed the narcotics throughout the North and South of England.
The unraveling of the operation occurred in 2021 when the police cracked the gang’s mobile phones, revealing incriminating CCTV footage.
The footage depicted members wearing forensic suits while handling over 200kg of amphetamine mixed with cutting agents.
Additionally, large amounts of cannabis were seen being delivered to the unit in black bin liners, destined to be packaged and distributed by the gang’s street dealers.
Redshaw’s involvement in the amphetamine operation was confirmed through CCTV footage showing him entering and leaving the Darwen unit in February 2021.
Further evidence linked him to discussions with Deaffern regarding the supply of cannabis in March of the same year.
Redshaw was observed on CCTV handling bags of the class B drug alongside other members of the gang.
During the trial, it was revealed that Redshaw, who played non-League football with Radcliffe Borough, Rossendale United, and Curzon Ashton, had been captured on CCTV inside the unit wearing a white forensic suit, spending approximately three hours in an office where significant amphetamine production allegedly took place.
Following the arrest of other gang members in March 2021, Redshaw went on the run but was eventually apprehended later that year.
Upon searching a property connected to him in Eccles, Salford, authorities recovered £9,380 in cash.
During the court proceedings, Redshaw’s defense, represented by Andrew Alty, emphasized that his client’s involvement in each conspiracy was brief.
Character references, including ones from former professional footballers Chris Eagles and Jack Byrne, were presented in an attempt to mitigate Redshaw’s sentence.