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UDA Bolton Gang split

(Jason Johnson, The People)

Family and comrades of Mad Dog Johnny Adair who were forced out of Ulster during the loyalist feud have vowed never to speak to each other again. The big split among the gang, dubbed the Bolton Wanderers, has seen one top ex-UDA man leave the town and another, Adair's former minder, get a job on a building site.

It marks the end of the line for the grisly group with police saying the Ulster 'crimewave' in England is coming to a close. The People has learned that a number of Adair's crew fell out over a five figure drug deal, and now they're all virtually skint.

We can reveal:

  • 'Fat' Jackie Thompson, 40, who was once never far from the side of his leader Johnny Adair, is working as a labourer on a Manchester building site earning £8 an hour. It's a far cry from his old post of arranging kneecappings up the Shankill Road.
  • Holy Cross bomb hoaxer Gary 'Smickers' Smith, 38, once Adair's second-in-command, has fled Bolton with girlfriend Sharon and their child and moved in with friends in Glasgow.
  • Gina Adair, Johnny's wife, has severed connections with her Shankill pals and is still in negotiations with Belfast loyalists about returning home. Her son Jonathan, who has just become a father, is serving five years for dealing heroin in the area.
  • Brothers James 'Sham', 37, and Herbie Millar, 38, are understood to be planning to move to London and are both looking for work. Herbie was best known for reading C Company statements for the UDA while Sham was always thought of as a ''money man.' He has 'F*** Taigs' tattooed on the back of his neck which might not help in his hunt for employment.
  • Their mother Wendy, who was a key figure in the founding of the 'Women's UDA' has already returned to Ulster and is the only one of the gang not under direct death threat.
  • John White has not been in contact with any of the gang for a year after finding God and a girlfriend in Manchester.

The angry split follows an attempted drug deal set up by the Millars with a Manchester-based crime outfit.

The deal fell through when squabbles broke out between the Millars and Jackie Thompson after police warned the gang they were being watched. Police sources said the group's 'collective paranoia' came calling and the Manchester gang pulled out fearing the Shankill loyalists were not safe to deal with.

Young Jonathan Adair, 19, had earlier been jailed for selling heroin and crack cocaine. His co-defendants - William Truesdale, 40, who got four years, and Benjamin Dowie, 22, who got five - were running a 'dial-a-drug' operation. They gave out their mobile numbers to buyers, arriving in person to deal wraps of heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine. That operation was busted by undercover cops.

Security sources in Bolton confirmed that the gang were still being watched but that they were no longer in communication with each other.

"They've been under a lot of pressure with the imprisonment of Jonathan Jr and local people have made it clear they wanted them all out.

"Gina had nothing to do with any of the drug business and just wants to get on with her life. She's something of a broken woman and wants nothing to do with them anymore.

"Thompson has said that they have split to keep the heat off them but the truth is that they're no longer speaking at all.

"Without the figure of Mr Johnny Adair, they just haven't been able to keep it together.

"I would say that this is all good news for the people of Bolton."

April 10, 2004

This article appeared first in The People on April 4, 2004.