Three members of a crack cocaine and heroin gang have been convicted of the brutal rape of an intoxicated woman.

The so-called 'Carlos' gang was headed by Christopher Nimbley and brothers Jeffrey and Bradley Dillon who smuggled heroin and crack cocaine into Blackpool from the Merseyside area.

But after being arrested for their links to drugs, police found disgusting images on a mobile phone of the three men raping a vulnerable woman, who knew nothing of the assault.

During a three-week trial at Preston Crown Court a jury heard that a police investigation named Operation Lawson, launched in 2016, established that Nimbley, 37, was the boss of the operation.

Nimbley, of Wordsworth Street, Toxteth, Liverpool, had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs after he was found to be using a mobile phone which drug users would call to then be directed to another number for a street dealer.

Brothers Dillon, 34, of Inglewhite, Skelmersdale and Dillon, 19, of Lea Crescent, Ormskirk were Nimbley's "lieutenants" in Blackpool, operating out of a flat on Derby Road.

The gang mainly carried out drug deals on the street and surveillance revealed that when members of the gang went to these flats, there would soon follow a series of drug users arriving at the address.

Nimbley was initially caught travelling to Toxteth at least three times a week, but the arrest of a customer in January 2017 seemed to force him to move back to Liverpool, leaving the Dillons in charge of the Blackpool operation.

Police said that the gang then operated on more of a 'county lines' model using vulnerable people to work as runners, delivering drugs one way and money the other via a phone relay system

On 3 February 2017, warrants were executed at a Blackpool flat where the Dillons were arrested for conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police seized several phones as well as digital scales and a small amount of cannabis and spice, with the scales were later found to contain traces of cocaine, heroin and cannabis.

A further drugs raid at another address yielded more mobile phones that were seized alongside plastic bags that had traces of cocaine inside.

A raid on a flat where Nimbley was living found documents and identification linking him to the premises - where 14 grams of 29% purity heroin and two large white crack cocaine rocks, valued at around £10,000, were found.

The search discovered scales, packaging, tick lists, mobile phones and a chopping board which contained scratch marks and was covered in small chips of white rock, consistent with producing crack cocaine, police said.

When police examined the mobile phone footage they found a clip of Nimbley and the Dillon brothers raping a woman who, according to Lancashire Police, "appeared to be unresponsive throughout and was clearly intoxicated".

The woman was later identified by officers and she confirmed that she had not given consent for any sexual activity to take place, and in fact could not remember the incident.

Mark Ansell, 41, of Lindbeck Road, Blackpool, acted as a driver for Nimbley, was also found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs along with Kerry Smith, 30, of Cuncliffe Road, Blackpool for drugs offences.

The group will be sentenced at a later date.