Prison for Liverpool dealer who ran county line drug supply chain into Ramsgate

Josh Harkins

A drug dealer from Liverpool who orchestrated a county line supplying heroin and crack cocaine into Thanet has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Josh Harkins controlled a supply chain known as the ‘Scouse’ line, which distributed Class A drugs to users in Ramsgate for almost a year.

The criminal operation was dismantled following a Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate investigation, which proved that between June 2019 and May 2020 Harkins used dedicated phone lines to advertise drugs to local users, by sending out bulk marketing text messages.

Harkins was based in Liverpool; however his network was enabled by accomplices and runners in Kent. Five of these associates were arrested following a series of simultaneous search warrants at properties in Ramsgate, in July 2020.

A number of phones were seized containing data linked to the line, which included messages such as ‘on at 9 with best of both fast drops’ – indicating that from 9am fast delivery was available on high quality heroin and crack cocaine.

These five were all sentenced in December 2020, to a total of more than 20 years’ imprisonment, having pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Harkins, 31, of Morningside Road, Liverpool, went on the run, fleeing to Spain, but eventually returned to England and handed himself in at Margate police station on 10 January 2022.

Harkins was convicted of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, having pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court. He was sentenced on Thursday 26 May.

Detective Inspector Emma Lawry said: “Harkins controlled a significant drugs supply chain into Thanet, with the sole purpose of selling heroin and crack cocaine to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Whilst he used others to carry out the business of arranging deals and delivering the drugs to users, his actions from afar are directly responsible for the misery and destruction of lives connected to these harmful substances. The sentence justly reflects the severity of his crimes and sends a clear message to those involved in serious and organised crime.”


  1. Another Bin Dipper behind bars.Unfortunstely,there are 100s more of the scum still out there.Lowlife filth.

  2. In China they execute the users as well as the dealers. The police need a “ shop a criminal / dealer / vandals” hot line / email to inform the police about these low life. The stupid form filling message system the police have on their website is not user friendly by a long way.

  3. Be out in 18 Months.
    There was a large gang jailed in 1999 , the longest sentence was 25 years . I did go to school with the man in the 60s.
    I was surprised to see him after four years. On appeal reduced to nine years and walked in four.
    He had a brand new car and told me he never needs to work again.
    Drug dealers at the top end , the big boys know this and stash the cash in thousands , knowing their time will run out and will carry on until it does.

    • But they don’t get executed Frank! they don’t get rehabilitated either, like all prisoners, they have everyone running around looking after their human rights.

  4. All these claims about how ” he’ll be out in a few months” etc!!
    I am a bit out of date with all this but:—–

    Assuming he does not succeed in appealing against the length of sentence, he must serve 10 years. The first two thirds will be in prison ie about 6 years and 8 months. (He may have spent quite a long time in prison awaiting sentence so, obviously, he may have already done a few months of this.)
    After that 6 years and 8 months, he becomes ELIGIBLE for release on Parole. NOT automatically released! Reports have to be written into his conduct in prison, into his attitude to the offence, into what plans he has for release and whether his plans might just return him to a life of crime.
    Back in the day, a former Home Secretary stated that no-one convicted of an offence involving sex, violence or drugs could expect release at the first opportunity. I can’t recall that suggestion ever being firmly rebutted by later Home Secretaries. Anyway, the Parole Board will decide IF he gets out at this stage.
    So he will probably NOT get out at 6 years and 8 months.
    So, I think he will have to wait another year before applying for Parole again.
    This is where it gets complicated as my memory is failing and governments change things a bit.(It may surprise people to know that Tory governments are more likely to make minor amendments to laws to allow earlier release than Labour ones!)
    Anyway, he will not have to wait another year to try again as he will be automatically released at the three-quarter point of his 10 year sentence ie after spending 7 years and 6 months in prison.
    He will then be on a Licence until the full 10 years is over. He will have to report as directed by a Probation Officer. He must attend any courses as directed. He MAY have to wear an ankle tag to keep him in his home address (not sure about this .It’s been a long time!)
    Anyway, regardless of how out-of-date I am, it’s pretty clear that 10 years means 10 years. Either in prison, or under some form of supervision or surveillance.
    So, no, he won’t be out and laughing in “a few months”.
    (I am happy to be factually corrected on any of these details but I think the general explanation is accurate.)

    • He won’t be subject to parole, he’s not a recalled offender, neither is he an EDS offender. He’ll serve half his sentence in custody, less remand time, and the rest, as you point out, on licence. It’s only violent offenders who have to serve two thirds in custody.

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