Dad unmasked as EncroChat user 'Smart Royal' by pictures from his stag do in Bilbao

Gary Moffatt
Gary Moffatt -Credit:Merseyside Police

A heroin and cocaine trafficker was unmasked after he saved a man's life and through pictures taken on his stag do in Bilbao.

Gary Moffatt traded wholesale quantities of class A and B drugs using the handle "SmartRoyal" on encrypted communications platform EncroChat. The dad also attempted to trade his antique gun for a modern upgrade, joking that his 19th century firearm was akin to a weapon held by Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry.

Liverpool Crown Court heard today, Monday, that data revealed when the French police infiltrated the network during 2020 showed that the 35-year-old's contacts had saved the username as "Moff", "Gary Moff" and "Gaz Moff" on their devices, while he had also given his initials out in messages. Moffatt, of the Spinney in Stockbridge Village, meanwhile sent associates pictures from the inside and exterior of his house, a photo of his son and an image showing the youngster's toybox with his name on it.

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Henry Riding, prosecuting, described one conversation on April 20 in which the account holder referred to a crash having occurred "outside his ma's". The defendant was said to have given CPR to a motorist on this date after he suffered a medical episode behind the wheel on the same street.

Further photographs which were taken during Smart Royal's stag do in Bilbao were also exchanged over the service. Records showed that Moffatt had previously travelled from Manchester Airport to the Spanish city via Dusseldorf.

He meanwhile indicated in his communications that he drove a black Nissan Qashqai and referred to "ripping up the garden" and having artificial grass fitted, such work having been completed at his property. Pictures of a hand holding quantities of cannabis and prescription drugs were also found to match his fingerprints.

Another message, sent on May 20, spoke of the sender being "away from the kids for 10 years", reading: "It was the worst lad. Killed me, my 10."

Moffatt was previously handed a sentence of around a decade for conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary in 2011. Overall, his communications showed discussions concerning the supply of 12kg of cocaine, 3kg of heroin and up to 63kg of cannabis and cannabis resin.

Mr Riding also referred to an exchange with "GrandFisher", in which he appeared to be attempting to sell or exchange his 1892 model Colt revolver and seeking to obtain .357 and .3 caliber ammunition. In these messages, Smart Royal asked: "Can you get any slugs for 357?"

The unnamed other user then replied: "I've got a Colt 357. Do you want to do a swap?"

Moffatt then responded that the gun was "too big for me" and described it as "being like Dirty Harry". He added: "I might sell it if I can get a swap on it."

Grand Power told him "I'll buy it", after which Smart Royal said: "It's a beast mate, but just too big for me. I just like to stick to a little bag round my neck."

Moffatt has a total of five previous convictions for 12 offences dating back to 2007. Matthew Buckland, defending, told the court: "The upstream element is dealt with by his partner.

"The two of them are offering brokerage, selling for slightly more than they are buying for. Their margins are thin, and the amount of profit is not what one would take it to be at first glance.

"As far as the firearm is concerned, this was not financially motivated. It was later recovered in an unworkable condition.

"References reveal something of a different side to Gary Moffatt. There was an emergency situation where a man was driving a motor vehicle and unfortunately suffered a cardiac arrest.

"Mr Moffatt was the first member of the public who stopped. He dragged him out of the car for his own safety and commenced CPR.

"There was a long road to recovery. But for that intervention, his prognosis would not be as good as it is and the outcome may even have been the worst possible outcome.

"There are also generous references from boxing clubs he has given his time and expertise to, those in the community who need help. These clubs often attract people who have troubles, and it drags them away from damaging uses.

"He has put his time and skills into helping others from falling into the pitfalls he has fallen into. He sits on the apex of his wing as a link between the staff and prisoners.

"He is a mentor and he is a listener. There is one man within that jail who would not be here today, but for his intervention.

"He had attempted suicide. Mr Moffatt put him right and set his life back on track.

"When he gets out, his only priorities will be himself and his son. He does not want to be inside a prison cell again."

Moffatt admitted conspiracy to supply heroin, cocaine, cannabis and cannabis resin, conspiracy to transfer a prohibited weapon and conspiracy to possess ammunition. He was jailed for 21 years and two months.

His mum walked out of the courtroom in tears moments before this sentence was handed down. Judge Robert Trevor-Jones told Moffatt: "Clearly, the effect will be most substantial as far as your young son is concerned.

"There are various documents served that attest to your positive aspects. Clearly, they indicate another side to you.

"The mitigating material must be seen in the context of the last conviction you had back in 2011, when you were again involved in very serious offending. That clearly did not deter you.

"You were wanting to sell or exchange your Colt pistol for a less cumbersome, portable and modern weapon. It can only be assumed that the potentially lethal weapon was for use in your drug trafficking business."

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