A DRUGS gang has been found guilty of conspiring to bring cocaine worth thousands of pounds into Worcester from Liverpool.

A jury of seven women and five men took two hours and eight minutes to unanimously convict all eight defendants of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

The eight convicted of the cocaine conspiracy are: Lee Bryant, aged 49, of Selborne Road West, Barbourne, Worcester; David Warren, aged 41, of Grasmere Drive, Warndon, Worcester; Ashley James, aged 31, of Cherington Close, Worcester; Deborah Crowther, aged 50, of Hollymount Road, Tolladine, Worcester; Todd Porter, aged 31, and Tiffany Porter, aged 21, also of Hollymount Road, Tolladine, Worcester; James Jones, aged 42, of Tolladine Road, Worcester and Liam Pearson, aged 51, of Aylton Road, Liverpool.

They all denied conspiracy to supply cocaine between September 6, 2011, and October 6, 2015 during the trial, which began in early October.

Jurors also found Ashley James and his 25-year-old partner Elizabeth Cottle, both of Cherington Close, guilty of concealing criminal property after the pair splashed out on foreign holidays, luxury London hotel stays, jewellery, a car on hire purchase, dental work for James and a designer coat using the proceeds of cocaine dealing.

Ashley James was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

The jury retired on Monday afternoon and returned to deliver their verdicts at Worcester Crown Court this morning before judge Robert Juckes QC.

Police bugged Ashley James's Renault Kangoo van and carried out covert surveillance.

Police moved to arrest dealers who worked under the main conspirators, gathered forensic evidence such as fingerprints and confiscated mobile phones, including a so-called 'dirty phone' hidden in a hedge by Ashley James.

Another dirty phone was seized when the courier, Liam Pearson, was boxed in by police driving north on the M6 after dropping off the drugs in Worcester and picking up the cash.

Pearson was found with nearly £30,000 in cash and a dirty phone after he met with Bryant at his home in Selborne Road West, Barbourne, Worcester.

Bryant said he had merely been helping a 'lost Scouser' (Pearson) and Pearson said the same.

Pearson claimed he was collecting money from the sale of cars on behalf of a man named 'John Moorcroft' who has never been traced and that previous trips to Worcester had been to meet his brother and collect family heirlooms following the death of his mother.

Police arrested Maurice James on a train from Worcester to Liverpool with £52,000 in cash.

Warren, who worked at Worcester Recycling Centre, claimed his trips to Liverpool were to visit family, watch boxing matches, including his nephew's professional debut, and to visit gyms where he could get better sparring partners for heavyweight boxer Ashley James.

Meanwhile Cottle and her partner Ashley James were described by John Butterfield QC, as 'living it large' on the proceeds of cocaine dealing.

The couple went on holidays to New York, Barbados, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and stayed in ‘luxury’ hotels in London. She owned a Burberry coat, bought by James as a gift from Selfridges for £1,090.

A £2,875 quartz kitchen worktop was installed at the home she shared with James in Cherington Close.

The holiday in Los Angeles and Las Vegas cost £5,145 while Barbados cost £6,374, £6,000 of which was paid in cash. The New York holiday cost £2,735 and again James paid in cash.

Cottle, who worked at Worcester Bosch for minimum wage and at nightclub Bushwackers, earned £16,635 a year and James, a plumber and doorman, earned £26,000, giving them a combined income of £42,635.

Yet Cottle admitted to the court she stayed at the London Marble Arch Hotel and the Shangri-La Hotel at the Shard in 2014.

Mr Butterfield said: "You were burning through money you didn’t have in any legitimate way. These are eye-watering sums. You were living it large in every sphere."

Mr Butterfield argued that the van recordings were 'effectively confessions' to the conspiracy and that Ashley James, James Jones and Todd Porter were 'up to their necks in organising the selling of drugs'.

The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday.

* TIMELINE: How the net closed in on gang who brought drugs to Worcester