DEFENCE barristers today tackled the evidence of the first witness in the case against a former Northwich football club owner accused of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Today, Wednesday, was the third day in the trial of James Rushe, 54, of Runcorn Road, in Runcorn, former owner of Northwich Victoria, alongside co-defendants Mark Fishwick, 46, of Greencroft, in Preston, and Andrew Fetherstone, 47, of Barnard Road, in Manchester.

The three men deny the charge.

Det Con Anthony Greenhough, from the North West Regional Crime Unit, faced questions from Robin Kitching, defending Fishwick, and Barry Grennan, defending Rushe, about the sequence of events in the case outlined by the prosecution.

This includes a log of mobile phone activity attributed to the three defendants and that attributed to members of an organised crime group run by a Preston man called Paul Berry, 47, of Abbey Walk, who pleaded guilty to his part in the conspiracy at an earlier hearing.

It features details of a meeting between Berry, Rushe and Fishwick at a Warrington pub in February 2015 and lists events in the run up to March 18, 2015, when Paul Berry’s known couriers drove to Karting 2000, in Manchester, a karting track formerly owned by Rushe and run by Fetherstone and Rushe’s sons at the time.

There the prosecution argues the couriers passed a package to Fetherstone, which he hid in his jacket.

The sequence of events also details of the police seizure of quarter of a kilo of 83 per cent pure cocaine which the prosecution argue was being couriered to Fishwick.

Mr Kitching said: “The majority of the calls and texts in this document will have nothing to do with these two alleged supplies of drugs.”

Mr Grennan followed this up by arguing that contact between Rushe and Fishwick, whose son played for Northwich Victoria, dwindled once Fishwick’s son was off the pitch with an injury.

Mr Kitching also argued that there was no evidence of the three men paying for drugs or selling drugs following the package being dropped off at Karting 2000.

He also questioned Det Con Greenhough about messages between Rushe and Fishwick apparently setting up the delivery, on March 18 last year, which stated at 10am that ‘Andy will be there in 15 minutes’ and pointed out that the package was not handed over until around 6.30pm, eight-and-a-half hours later.

Det Con Greenhough replied: “It’s an illicit trade, things change, it’s not like you order something online and it gets delivered by Asda.

“What’s a day? It’s nothing.”

Mr Grennan pointed out that all the telephone records illustrated was the time that communication had taken place and for how long, but did not include details of content or who could be using the phone.

Within the cross examination he also explained that Karting 2000 took in young people who did not go to school and provided them with go karting experience to keep them off the streets and that Fetherstone would pick them up in the morning and bring them back to the centre.

The trial continues.