Violent drug gang behind bars blew cash on champagne lifestyle including flash cars, designer clothes and luxury hotels

Violent gangsters who flashed the cash on fancy cars, designer clothes and luxury hotels are now paying the full price of their drug crimes.

Now behind bars, the gang wreaked havoc on the streets of Liverpool but 19 members of the network were jailed this week.

The extent of their champagne lifestyle funded through their illegal acts has now been revealed after a 16-month police operation.

Key players partied on magnums of champagne before putting themselves up in expensive hotel rooms, the Liverpool Echo reports .

Gang members received a combined jail sentence of 135 years for their parts in running a heroin and cocaine racket from their base in Anfield.

Drugs discovered in raids across Liverpool targeting the criminal gang (Image: Handout)

One of the most prominent members even stockpiled fireworks – which he loved setting off on city rooftops.

As well as venturing into neighbouring parts of Walton, they also targeted vulnerable addicts in Lancashire, Cheshire and Devon in their ruthless pursuit of profit.

Over the course of a 16 month probe – which saw a host of raids even before a major police strike day blitzed the gang last November – detectives recovered £50,000 in cash.

But the true value of their enterprise is thought to have been far greater.

Officers looking into the gang’s exploits gained a stark insight into their spending throughout the length of Operation Scarva.

The gang spent £6,000 a month hiring a top of the range Range Rover to coast through the streets in.

The SVR, worth around £109,000, was rented at £1,500-a-week.

Edward Murphy , who prosecutors branded as one of the gang’s three leading figures, was said to have passed his driving test while under the gaze of detectives. The day after his success he was seen driving an Audi worth around £40,000.

Murphy was also thought to be the gang member responsible for the stockpiling of fireworks.

Police found “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” of them during their searches – with officers believing the 26-year-old had a passion for setting them off from the rooftops of Liverpool city centre locations.

In one video released by police, taken from an officer’s body camera as he stopped three of those jailed this week, Murphy is seen branding the policeman a “rat” while wearing a Huge Boss T-shirt.

The searches were part of Operation Scarva, a Merseyside Police investigation into a drugs gang based in Anfield, Liverpool (Image: Handout)

That was supposedly indicative of the gang’s approach – with the designer clothes found by police all legitimate, as were the Rolex wrist watches that some sported.

Asked whether the gang displayed any “sophistication”, Detective Superintendent Lee Turner said: “It was a business because when the drugs came into the area they were not treated. The cocaine may have had a purity of 88% but they wouldn’t knock it out at 88%, they would knock it out at, say, 15%.

“It took a lot so they have got the firearms to look after their business, the drug supply line, they need that. Then they have got to launder the money because they can’t just put it in the bank. These just spent it. We recovered £50,000 but the vast majority of that money went out.”

He added: “Whilst it was a business there was no longevity in their mind. These weren’t sophisticated individuals and they are not from wealthy families that know how to deal with money. They liked it a lot and they just flaunted their wealth.”

Asked whether he thought the crooks blew their money because they knew any assets they invested in could be seized by police, Det Supt Turner said: “I don’t think they had the wherewithal to plan for the future. They weren’t like us.

“You might save £500 in case the car needs a new gear box. They didn’t think that far ahead. They lived for the here and now: ‘let’s go to to a music festival, let’s go to town. There’s a £200 bottle – we will have that now’.”