Cheese from Long Clawson dairy near Grantham helps police capture Liverpool drug dealer
A block of cheese from Long Clawson has helped jail a Liverpool drug dealer.
Carl Stewart, of Gem Street, Liverpool, has become the latest in Merseyside to be jailed in connection with an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service to try to evade detection.
It was his "love of Stilton cheese" which led to his capture.
Stewart, 39, was identified after sharing an image on his encrypted device of a block of Long Clawson mature blue Stilton cheese in the palm of his hand, from which his fingerprints were analysed.
He used the handle ‘Toffeeforce’ on EncroChat, through which he supplied large amounts of class A and B drugs. However, police cracked the system last year, leading to the arrest of hundreds of people in the UK suspected of murder, gun smuggling and serious drug trafficking.
Stewart was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, conspiracy to supply heroin, conspiracy to supply MDMA, conspiracy to supply ketamine and transferring criminal property.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said: “We have seen another significant sentencing as part of national Operation Venetic, which came about after law enforcement officials in Europe managed to crack the ‘encrochat’ service being used by criminals involved in serious and organised crime to carry out their business.
“Carl Stewart was involved in supplying large amounts of class A and B drugs, but was caught out by his love of Stilton cheese, after sharing a picture of a block of it in his hand through EncroChat. His palm and fingerprints were analysed from this picture and it was established they belonged to Stewart.
“As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested more than 60 people, many of whom have been charged with serious drug trafficking or firearms offences. This year will see a number of these people continuing to appear before the courts, and we welcome each and every one.
“Stewart was handed a substantial sentence of 13 years and six months, and this should serve as a stark warning to anyone involved in this criminality that there are serious consequences."