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One-legged crime boss finally jailed after five years on the run

One-legged crime boss finally jailed after five years on the run

Richard Wakeling fled the UK for Thailand, but now he's back and in prison for drugs offences

A British crime boss who only has one leg has been jailed after he was finally extradited from Thailand after five years on the run.

55-year-old Richard Wakeling, originally from Essex, was tried and found guilty of trying to import £8 million worth of liquid amphetamine into the UK back in 2016.

The substance is a class-B drug, and he was jailed for 11 years for the crime, but never actually made it to his own trial or to prison after he was sentenced.

Wakeling fled the UK in 2018, but was tried in his absence and sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He returned on 1 June, where he was immediately taken to begin serving his time in prison.

The Brentwood organised crime boss was arrested by the Royal Thai Police in February 2023 after he went to get his car from a garage in Bangkok.

Richard Wakeling was extradited from Thailand.

He’d been living in the seaside town of Hua Hin, and was in possession of a passport with a different identity when he was caught by the Thai police.

The NCA had been hunting down Wakeling and his accomplices after Border Force officers discovered drums full of liquid amphetamine as they were being boarded onto a Channel Tunnel train in April 2016.

That import scheme had been devised by Wakeling, as well as a truck driver who was bringing furniture to the UK from Italy.

That driver stopped in the Belgian municipality of Ternat to collect the drums full of drugs, before heading for the border with the UK in France.

The NCA said that Wakeling had been conspiring with drugs suppliers in the Netherlands as well as two other UK criminals to sort the journey out.

It was later proven that the gang had organised six similar imports before the 2016 one that was intercepted.

When Wakeling went on the run in 2018, the NCA put out information including CCTV footage in an attempt to trace him.

Now, they’ve finally got their man, and he’s set to spend the next decade or more in prison.

Jacque Beer, the NCA head of regional investigations, said: "Richard Wakeling thought he could avoid facing justice by leaving the UK.

"The hard work of NCA officers - both here in the UK and overseas - and that of our international partners has put him behind bars for a lengthy prison sentence."

Richard Wakeling will spend 11 years in prison.

David Coyle, NCA regional manager for Thailand, said: “The NCA has worked relentlessly to trace Wakeling and ensure he returns to the UK to serve his prison sentence.

“I thank the prosecutors of the Attorney General’s office, the Royal Thai Police and the Commissioner of the Central Investigations Bureau for their extensive work helping us identify and arrest Wakeling.

“With our partners at home and abroad we are committed to doing everything possible to find those who have fled justice in the UK.

“This is another example of an offender being caught because of the NCA’s global reach and strong relationships with international partners.”

Featured Image Credit: National Crime Agency

Topics: UK News, World News, Crime, Drugs