Bidston man jailed for six years following international mobile encryption operation

A Wirral man has become the latest in Merseyside to be jailed in connection with an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption device to try and evade detection. 

Steven Strachan, 49, of School Lane, Bidston, was sentenced to six years in prison at Liverpool Crown Court today, Thursday 15 April. Strachan was convicted of a conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs.

Strachan was evidenced as using the handle ‘Fastsilver’, and was involved in the supply of large quantities of cannabis, cocaine and ketamine – often using a courier to drop off and collect drugs and cash across Wirral. 

He was arrested after detectives matched the password to the notes section of his encrochat device with the name of his current partner. Strachan also directed someone to a house he owned.

Upon his arrest, detectives took a photograph from his garden to identify the location – which matched a picture Strachan had taken on his encro device.

Over £10,000 in cash with a cash counting machine was also seized from his home.  

The police operation 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. Arrests are continuing on Merseyside as part of this operation. 

Acting Detective Sergeant John Molyneux said today: “The sentencing of Steven Strachan highlights the robust approach of police and the courts when it comes to organised crime and drug supply across Merseyside and beyond.

“Despite portraying himself as a legitimate businessman, Strachan was supplying large quantities of drugs and generating vast profits in doing so – causing misery to others in order to satisfy his own greed.

“Perhaps now – while serving a jail term – he’ll take time to reflect on the risks he took and the harm he’s caused.

“As part of Operation Venetic, Merseyside Police has so far arrested 102 people, of which 71 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 for its role in disrupting and dismantle organised crime across the world.

“We’re working closely alongside our partners in the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) in these and other investigations, so expect to see a lot more good news in the coming weeks and months.

“Merseyside Police has a proven track record in dealing robustly with individuals responsible for the wholesale supply of illegal drugs, both locally and across the country. These people often use violence, including guns and knives, to protect their business interests and exploit young and vulnerable people and bringing fear and intimidation to the communities they live and operate in.

“Merseyside and many areas of the UK are safer thanks to this operation, and we will continue to target anyone involved in serious organised crime to help keep drugs and exploitation out of our communities.”

Over £10,000 in cash was seized from his home.  
A cash counting machine was also seized from his home.

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