Three Sunderland men deny being involved with cocaine gang

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THREE Sunderland men have gone on trial accused of being involved with a drugs gang which was bringing large amounts of cocaine to the North East.

Kirk Maddison, Paul Lawton, and Robert Stevens were linked by mobile phone records to the Hartlepool-based gang, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Adrian Dent told a jury undercover police observed an alleged drugs handover in Hartlepool.

“Officers arrested three Hartlepool men, and recovered 45 rolled bundles of cash amounting to £44,950,” said Mr Dent.

“Further inquiries led to Kirk Maddison.

“About £22.000 was found in Maddison’s house when he was arrested.

“Curiously, some of the money was in rolled bundles similar to the money seized in Hartlepool. “Maddison claimed the money was from an inheritance from his deceased father, and from selling cars. We say his father’s estate amounted to nothing like that sum.

“Money was found in Paul Lawton’s house, and about £1,000 was found when Robert Stevens’ house was searched.”

The court heard Stevens told police his money had come from the sale of a motorbike.

Lawton made no reply when questioned.

Maddison, 32, of Gill Terrace, Lawton, 51, of Dellfield Drive, Stevens, 57, of Hylton Road, all deny conspiring to supply class A drugs between January and March, 2013.

Five men from Hartlepool and a man from Liverpool deny the same charge.

The trial is expected to take three weeks.

Proceeding.