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Liverpool drug dealer caught after being identified by photos of girlfriend's dog

Bobby Allen was identified as the EncroChat user ‘AcidGlove’ by police who had discovered a photo album containing shots of the pet dachshund in his bedroom

Bobby Allen

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A 27-year-old man who had been dealing in “substantial” quantities of heroin and cocaine was identified and caught after he had sent pictures of his girlfriend's dog to other drug dealers.

Bobby Allen was identified as the EncroChat user ‘AcidGlove’ by police who had discovered a photo album containing shots of the pet dachshund in his bedroom when they raided his grandmother's home.

Liverpool Crown Court heard yesterday how messages on the encrypted communications platform provided evidence of his involvement in trafficking at least 14kg of heroin, 10kg of cocaine, 13kg of cannabis, 5kg of ketamine and 5,000 ecstasy tablets.

Prosecutor Henry Riding described how Allen was linked to the handle after others he had been in communication referred to him as "Bobby, young Bobby, twinny and baby twin".

This was a reference to Allen having a twin brother, whom he had named in some of his own texts.

He also referred to "our lad in Kirkham" which police suspected was referring to a relative who was serving a sentence for drug offences in HMP Kirkham in Lancashire.

Another contact sought out the qualified electrician's services as a "spark “and the Encro phone's lock screen password was "FC Garston 19", a football team for which the "keen sportsman" was a registered player.

Merseyside Police executed a search warrant at his nan's home in Roby on July 19 last year and recovered ‘The Little Book of Dennis’- a collection of pictures of the dog - from his room.

He had also sent numerous pictures of the dog to his underworld contacts via EncroChat.

Allen - of no fixed address, but "born and bred" in Garston, had been in contact with 47 of the 76 other handles stored on his device.

He was later described as a "middle man through whom other EncroChat users were able to source drugs".

The court was told by his defence lawyer Stuart Mills that he had acted as a carer to his elderly grandmother and volunteered as a kids' boxing coach.

Allen, who has no previous convictions, was also an "active part" of a food bank during lockdown.

After falling seriously ill and being told he had "days to live" in April 2021, he was left unable to work for nearly a year.

He later required a kidney transplant from his twin.

It was also stated in his defence that while in custody, Allen had completed a welding course and had acted as a "mentor" to other prisoners.

"He is from an extremely loving and supporting family,” Mr Mills is quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo.

“He is devastated at the shame, embarrassment, hurt and upset that he has brought upon them.

"He is upset that he has let them down badly, and they will suffer the sentence as much as he will. Everybody speaks very highly of Bobby Allen and is very shocked that he has got himself involved in something like this.

"He wants to publicly apologise to the court, to the whole of his family and the wider community for what he has done and for the pain and suffering he has brought upon them. He clearly wants to use as best he can his time in custody so he can make a better life for himself."

Appearing via video link to HMP Liverpool, he was jailed for 13 years after admitting conspiracy to supply heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and cannabis during an earlier hearing.

Sentencing, Judge Denis Watson KC said: "By involving yourself in these offences, you have involved yourself in a trade of desperation and destitution. Quite simply, drugs wreak havoc on people's lives.

"Those who need drugs will often resort to crime to fund their addictions. You cared nothing for the harm you were causing, you cared only for your own profit.

"Those who trade in misery to seek profit have to expect long prison sentences. You probably thought you were invincible, protected by your phone - but of course, your phone has proved to be your downfall.

"It is now clear precisely what you were up to. You were coordinating, sourcing and supplying class A and B drugs in substantial quantities."

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