Woolton man jailed for drugs conspiracy

A Woolton man has been jailed for 12 years for a drugs conspiracy following an investigation under Operation Venetic.

Barry Hellewell, 47, was sentenced today, Monday 25 September, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply controlled Class A drugs (cocaine and heroin).

He was arrested on Thursday 3 August 2023 at his home address after being identified as the user of the Encrochat handle ‘caramelexpress’ and having conspired to supply 14kg of cocaine and 5kg of heroin between 30 March and 13 June 2020.

Hellewell was linked to the Encrochat handle after sending an image to another Encrochat user showing a letter from HMRC including his own address, as well as revealing the names of various relatives and the areas they lived.

He was also linked as the user of ‘caramelexpress’ through the nickname ‘handbag’, which police were also able to show is a nickname that Hellewell is known by.

Hellewell has an extensive criminal record including two previous sentences served for supplying heroin, convicted in 2000 and 2013, 42 months and 52 months respectively.

Detective Inspector Peter McCullough said, “The supply of drugs causes misery for our communities, so it’s pleasing to see another Encrochat handle being shut down.

“We were able to prove that Hellewell was behind the user ‘caramelexpress’ and he will now spend a considerable amount of time in prison.

“We know the destruction that drug supply causes and Merseyside Police remains relentless in our pursuit of these criminals and to bring down serious and organised criminal groups.

“Hellewell, like many offenders before him, thought he was hiding behind a secure communications system. Instead, he collected damning evidence of his own drug supply and will face a long spell in prison.”

Anyone with information on drug supply is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Image: Barry Hellewell/Merseyside Police

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