Violent drug dealer already serving 10-year prison sentence caged for 21 years

A violent drug dealer who complained his 10 years in prison was "the worst" has been handed a sentence of more than 20 years.

Gary Moffatt traded wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine and cannabis using the handle "Smart Royal" on the encrypted communications platform EncroChat. The dad, of Stockbridge Village in Liverpool, was caught after he saved a man's life and through pictures taken on his stag do in Bilbao, Liverpool Echo reports.

The 35-year-old had armed himself with a "beast" of a gun which he joked was akin to a weapon carried by Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry.

He was locked up in 2011 as part of a gang who carried out a string of violent robberies across Merseyside, "terrorising" victims in their homes.

The thugs, who covered their faces with masks and balaclavas, smashed their way into houses and screamed demands for car keys and jewellery. Terrified victims were threatened with knives, swords, sledgehammers, machetes, chisels and a shotgun.

They stabbed victims who did not cave into their demands and threatened to cut a pensioner's hand off if his wife did not show them to their safe. In two months they carried out 27 burglaries and stole a high-powered Vauxhall, a top-of-the range Volkswagen Golf, an exclusive Audi, 4x4s, a BMW and a pacey Honda. T

During their crimewave, homes in the West Derby, Croxteth and Huyton areas and North Wales were targeted from December 2009 over a period of two months.

Moffatt and four other members of the gang - 21-year-old Jason Nee, of Lynstead Road in Dovecot, 19-year-old Craig Murphy, from Stockbridge Village, 19-year-old Anthony Akins, of Aylton Road in Huyton, and 18-year-old Jamie Williams, of Woodlands Road in Huyton – were handed a combined total of 40 years behind bars at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.

Moffatt, Akins, Williams and Jason Nee were arrested in Feburary 2010 after hiding in a cupboard in the ladies' toilet of the Granada Bingo Hall, also known as Bugsy's, in Dovecot. Officers discovered a "burglar's uniform" of balaclavas and masks on the floor around them after a high-speed chase involving the police helicopter and a stolen VW Golf R32.

Sentencing, Judge John Roberts said: "This was a wide ranging conspiracy where young men were out of control, on the rampage and came to terrorise their victims at home. It was done in the belief they could do what they want with impunity - these burglaries were truly shocking."

The same court heard on Monday this week that data revealed when the French police infiltrated EncroChat during 2020 showed that the now 35-year-old's contacts had saved the username "SmartRoyal" as "Moff", "Gary Moff" and "Gaz Moff" on their devices, while he had also given his initials out in messages. Moffatt meanwhile sent associates pictures from the inside and exterior of his house, a photo of his son and an image showing the his toybox with his name on it.

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 SmartRoyal'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."

This was said to have been a reference to Moffatt's 2011 sentence. Overall, his communications showed discussions concerning the supply of 12kg of cocaine, 3kg of heroin and up to 63kg of cannabis and cannabis resin.

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.

"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.

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