Wirral drug dealer shot and threw petrol bombs at campers who annoyed him

A CONVICTED drug dealer was back behind bars today after he threw petrol bombs and shot at campers who annoyed him on a night fishing trip.

Alan Bentley, 43, was jailed for 17 years in 2002 for the part he played in a Mersey drug gang which flooded Bolton’s streets with heroin, cocaine and crack.

The bloody feud sparked by the gang’s war to control drug supply in the town claimed the life of five-year-old Dillon Hull, who was murdered in an attempted hit on his drug-dealing stepdad.
Bentley was freed after serving half his sentence but was back in court last week and returned to jail.

Preston crown court heard how in September last year, a drunken Bentley terrified youngsters who set up camp in a field in rural Lancashire.

The seven teenagers had been given permission to camp in the field in Kirkham, near Preston.

But two firms, one owned by a friend of Bentley, disapproved.

Charles Brown, prosecuting, told the court the young people were gathered around their campfire and tents near the centre of the field when they heard the sound of airgun shots and saw a man holding a rifle.

They took cover in their tents before a second round of shots came from another direction.

Police were called but when they left, Bentley, of Scoresby Road, Bidston, began throwing homemade petrol bombs at the tents.

In police interview he denied the accusations. He claimed the campers caused a nuisance and pellets from an air weapon or stones were fired or thrown at him while he fished nearby.

Mr Brown said: “The prosecution accept his contention throwing petrol bombs was not to injure or maim but simply to frighten.

“But throwing a lighted petrol bomb into a dark field is intrinsically dangerous.”

Martin Callery, defending, said Bentley had stayed out of trouble since his release from prison in summer 2009.

Mr Callery told the court: “He was night fishing and could hear noises from the adjoining field. He had had a drink, probably more drink than was good for him.

“It probably helped loosen the shackles of proper behaviour.

“It was a complete one-off incident which arose very much on the spur-of-the-moment.

“It was not car petrol, but petrol used in lawnmowers. The beer bottles had come from a recycling bin.

“There was never any intention to hurt anybody, simply to frighten them.”

Mr Justice MacDuff told Bentley: “Your behaviour was not only unacceptable, but wholly dangerous.

“You set fire to this field. You were drunk. You took the law into your own hands to frighten these people away.”

Bentley was jailed for four-and-a-half years after he pleaded guilty to charges of affray and making an explosive substance.

He was already recalled to serve the rest of his 17 years and will not be released before 2018.