Three men were snared supplying drugs across Lancashire after one was caught trying to hide 124g of cocaine in his underwear. 

Cocaine was transported into Preston by Colin Pritchard between the end of September 2022 and February 2023.

Pritchard, from Ormskirk, supplied the drugs to Mark Watkins who would in turn pass them on to Daniel Eastham who would deal them in Preston at street-level.

The supply chain was halted in February last year when a BMW X5 car in which Pritchard was a passenger, was stopped by officers on the M6 near Bamber Bridge.

After being booked into custody at Preston Police Station, Pritchard was seen trying to hide a bag in his underwear.

The bag was seized and found to contain 124g of cocaine with an 80 per cent purity, together with a quantity of cash.

Watkins and Eastham were both later arrested and were found to have regularly been in contact by phone on days when Pritchard drove to Preston.

On the day Pritchard was arrested, Watkins attempted to call him four times – Pritchard unable to answer as he was in custody.

The calls from Watkins were him trying to find out what had happened to Pritchard and the drugs he was transporting to Preston.

Pritchard, 50, of Cottage Lane, Ormskirk; Watkins, 31, of Raikes Road, Preston; and Eastham, 33, of Fishwick Parade, Preston, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine.  

At a sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court last Friday (March 22), Pritchard was jailed for six years and eight months; Watkins for six years; and Eastham for three years. 

Eastham’s sentence will run consecutively with a six-year sentence for another drugs supply offence. 

Det Con Rick Sholicar of Preston CID, said: “This was an organised supply of cocaine into Preston, and the investigation broke that supply chain.

“The supply of drugs and use of them, brings misery and other forms of crime to communities, and the public are rightly concerned about such activities.

“These three men are now paying the price for their involvement in the supply of Class A drugs with lengthy prison sentences.”