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One-legged drug dealer with ties to Ireland named as one of UK’s most wanted men

Richard Wakeling, from Brentwood, Essex, absconded in 2018 before his 12-week trial began

Richard Wakeling, from Brentwood

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A one-legged drug dealer with ties to Ireland who tried to import £8m of liquid amphetamine into the UK in April 2016 has been named this week as one of the UK’s most wanted men.

Richard Wakeling, from Brentwood, Essex, absconded in 2018 before his 12-week trial began.

He was later convicted in his absence and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Wakeling who has a right lower leg amputation, uses a prosthetic leg and requires regular medical treatment.

Police say he has family and friends in Ireland, Spain, Canada and Thailand.

NCA investigators have established that he took a bus from Heathrow to Glasgow on January 5, and then a ferry from Stranraer to Belfast the next day.

Wakeley was convicted along with three other men of conspiring to import drugs. They were sentenced on Friday, April 6, 2019 following a 12-week trial.

Wakeley was given the longest sentence with 11 years in prison.

It is believed that Wakeling is the kingpin of the entire operation and liaised with drug suppliers in Belgium and the Netherlands.

The drugs were seized after Border Force found the liquid amphetamine inside plastic drums on the truck belonging to one of the men.

They were busted while attempting to board a train through the Channel Tunnel on April 9, 2016.

Wakeling was transporting furniture from Italy but stopped at Ternat in Belgium where phone evidence showed he was directed by a fellow trucker to collect the drugs.

The NCA suspect that he could be abroad, but are currently appealing for any information relating to his whereabouts.

“We pursue criminals and bring them to justice,” the NCA said. “By informing communities and supporting other agencies, we can help identify criminals and speed the law enforcement process.”

They added that Wakeling should not be approached if spotted.

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