This is the moment a Salford crime family carried out an audacious and brutal robbery on a Liverpool crime gang. After plotting for weeks, and fitting a tracking device to a car they were able to identify the drugs stash house of the Merseyside firm.
They struck just before 9.30am on May 23rd 2020 at the height of lockdown when the roads were empty. Hired hand, Ben Monks-Gorton posing as a delivery driver in a hi-vis jacket walked to the door of the house with an empty box.
As the door of the property in Liverpool opened, three men dressed in black and hooded stormed in. They were Jason Cox, the leader of the Salford gang, his brother, Craig, and Liverpool gangster, Richard Caswell.
In three minutes they battered a 56-year-old man and his 21-year-old son who was in the house with machetes and an axe. Leaving them seriously injured. Then snatched 30kg of cocaine, with a wholesale value of £1.2m from a storm drain in the back yard of the house.
Footage shows the gang running back to a white van, which was on false number plates, and never recovered. They throw two bags containing the drugs into the back of the vehicle then drive off.
Video taken inside the property by police reveals how several rooms and the hall way were left blood splattered. The older victim had his arm cut to the bone by a machete.
Cox brothers Jason, 35, and Craig, 33, joined forces with Liverpool criminal Richard Caswell, nicknamed ‘Will’ because of an apparent resemblance to pop star Will Young, to prepare the plot. Hired hand Ben Monks-Gorton, 30, posed as a delivery driver, carrying an empty box and knocking on the front door prior to a brutal attack.
The identity of members of the Liverpool outfit they targeted cannot be revealed due to legal reasons. The Cox siblings, along with another brother, Lee Cox, 38, also admitted being involved in large-scale drug dealing, being linked to more than 20 kilos of cocaine and 50 kilos of cannabis.
Monks-Gorton was jailed for six years and nine months for his part in the robbery conspiracy. Michael Nevin, 35, a courier who described himself as a ‘gangster transporter’ for the ‘tight knit’ Cox gang, was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison.
The robbery conspiracy and the Cox gang’s drug dealing were the latest underworld crimes to be exposed by law enforcement’s hack of the highly secretive EncroChat network, commonly referred to as ‘WhatsApp for criminals’. Manchester Crown Court heard that the Cox gang had previously sourced cocaine from the Liverpool outfit in the past.
Their associate Caswell, a member of a Liverpool gang previously linked to a spate of car bombs across the city in 2003 and 2004, came up with the plan to rob or tax the gang and spoke with Jason Cox on EncroChat, prosecutors said.” Jason Cox and Richard Caswell had set about a detailed plan to rob the Liverpool organized crime group,” prosecutor Alex Langhorn said.
They began to take real steps to further that plot, to put trackers on vehicles, to undertake a number of reconnaissance visits, to look at where the stash house was, the amounts and when best to strike.” In messages recovered from EncroChat, Caswell described a member of the Liverpool gang they went on to rob as a ‘horrible c***.
In a message to Jason Cox, Caswell added: “If we get his driver do you think he will be the man with access to gaff with it all in?” He added: “I would even be up for killing him if he needs to be.”
Discussions about using a tracking device to find the stash house were also revealed, with Jason Cox having made contact with a surveillance firm in Manchester. Jason Cox asked Caswell: “Do you think this firm are wary of trackers?”
“Yes,” Caswell replied. “They have been at it for years. If they suspected us, they would want to put us on lie detector. We need to be spot on with this.”
In further discussions about the planned robbery, Jason Cox said he was ‘eager’. Describing the Liverpool gang, Caswell said: “These proper smash it.”
In the days prior to the robbery, the gang made reconnaissance trips to Merseyside to try and find the stash house. The robbery was set for the morning of Saturday, May 23, 2020. They met in Warrington before traveling to Liverpool to meet Caswell.
Two men were ‘severely injured’ during the armed strike, after Monks-Gorton went to the front door posing as a delivery driver to trick the occupants to open up. His DNA from him was found on a surgical Covid mask left behind by the front door, which fell off during the attack.
One of the victims suffered a severe gaping wound which exposed his bone. About 13 kilos of the 30 kilos of stolen cocaine were given to Nevin who couriered them on to other criminals.
Cocaine with a stamp used by the Liverpool OCG was found in a self storage unit in Bury which was linked to Nevin. Jason Cox, of Strawberry Close, Warrington; Craig Cox, of no fixed address; Caswell, of no fixed address; and Monks-Gorton, of no fixed address, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob.
Jason Cox, Craig Cox, Lee Cox, of Oaklands Road, Salford and Michael Nevin, of Egerton Road, Fallowfield, all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis and conspiracy to possess criminal property, Caswell also admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and heroin and possessing criminal property
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.