Police release CCTV footage of 'one-legged drug lord' last seen taking ferry to Belfast

Police release CCTV footage of 'one-legged drug lord' last seen taking ferry to Belfast

THE UK's National Crime Agency has released CCTV footage of a one-legged crime boss who has been at large for over a year after boarding a ferry to Northern Ireland.

Richard Wakeling, 52, fled to Belfast in January 2018 ahead of a 12-week drug trafficking trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Wakeling, from Brentwood in Essex, was sentenced in his absence to 11 years in prison for conspiracy to import £8million worth of liquid amphetamine into the UK in 2016.

The NCA has released new footage in a bid to catch the fugitive, who has a prosthetic leg and requires regular medical treatment.

He is known to have family in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and Thailand.

NCA Operations Manager Paul Green said: "Wakeling has been on the run for well over a year now and knows we are still looking for him.

"He should also know we will do everything in our power to bring him back to serve his sentence.

"I would urge him to hand himself in. I’ve no doubt someone seeing this appeal will have information about his whereabouts.

"Anyone helping Wakeling or actively frustrating our efforts to find him could be arrested for assisting an offender."

The new CCTV clip released by the NCA shows Wakeling leaving his home in Juniper Court, Beech Avenue, Brentwood, Essex, at 9.48am on Friday January 5, 2018.

In the footage, he can be seen chatting to a workman before getting into his car – a white Audi Q3 with reg number EF66 ZWR – and driving away.

He quickly left Essex and travelled through Iver in Buckinghamshire, before catching a bus from Heathrow to Glasgow.

The next day on January 6, he took a ferry from Stranraer to Belfast where he disappeared.

A week later on Saturday January 13, Wakeling's car was driven back to his home address.

The drug trafficker's conviction in absentia came after several plastic drums containing liquefied amphetamine were discovered by Border Force officials in April 2016

Lorry drivers Lesley Muffett, 59, of Campbell Road, Witham, and Stuart Davidson, 65, of Chesham Drive, Basildon, as well as Darren Keane, 34, of Kiln Drive, Milton Keynes, were convicted of their involvement alongside the absent Wakeling at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Keane was sentenced to nine years in jail, Davidson to eight years and Muffett to six years for conspiring to import drugs.

If you have any information call NCA on 0370 496 7622 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111