SEX offenders, drug dealers and abusive partners are among the criminals banged up this year having been brought to justice.

Courts hit dangerous and depraved offenders with the full weight of the law in 2020, protecting victims - and communities as a whole.

Among the most notable convictions this year were those brought to justice under Operation Horizon, a large-scale police response to gangs flooding Barrow with crack cocaine and heroin using county lines.

The two-year operation ended in November with the last of 33 offenders sentenced at Preston Crown Court.

And that court was often the site where judges handed criminals their just deserts.

South Londoner Michael Emeofa, 22, headed the network that flooded Barrow with drugs between March 2018 and January 2019.

He was jailed for nine for 'peddling misery' on the streets of Barrow after undercover police smashed his criminal network.

Three men also involved with drug dealing in Barrow were jailed for 10 years in total earlier this month.

Anthony Morrison, 26, and Michael Medway, 21 - of Birkenhead and Wallasey in Merseyside - were both convicted of conspiring to supply crack cocaine and heroin.

They were sentenced to five years and three months and four years and six months respectively - while Barrow man Darren White, 40, received a community penalty for his part in conspiring to supply crack cocaine.

Sick paedophile Paul Fox, who stalked girls on paper rounds and outside the school gates, was jailed for nine years.

Aged 43 at the time of his sentencing, the Broughton man was convicted of sexual activity with a child and rape against his first victim and two counts of sexual assault, rape and sexual activity with a child against the other victim, aged 14 and 15.

A prolific drug dealer who tortured his partner at her home in Barrow and wrote threatening letters to her from his prison cell was put behind bars for two years.

John Atkinson, 40 at the time of his sentencing, said the woman would have ‘every hair on her head ripped out and every tooth smashed’ if she sold his property while he was in prison in June 2019.

Ian Gabbert, who sexually abused a young girl more than a decade ago was jailed for three years.

Aged 28 when he was sentenced, he was just 16 when he indecently assaulted the child - aged eight or nine at the time - on multiple occasions in the Barrow area.

Former zookeeper Bradley Tomes was jailed for 32 months after he broke into the South Lakes Safari Zoo to steal exotic penguins and birds.

A man who set fire to his own flat on Bonfire Night was jailed for three years.

Michael John Milligan risked the lives of vulnerable residents when he started the blaze at Adelphi Court in Barrow.