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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Tom Duffy

The 'Big Guy' starts UK prison sentence after Marbella drug sting

A Liverpool man who was arrested in Marbella one day after being named as wanted by police has now started a prison sentence in the UK.

Joshua Hendry, 30, was named one of the UK's most wanted fugitives as the National Crime Agency (NCA) revealed he was thought to be in Spain.

The following day, (January 20) Hendry was arrested in San Pedro de Alcantára, Marbella, by the Spanish National Police’s fugitives unit after an off-duty police officer recognised him in the street.

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Video footage showed him being escorted through an underground car park by a police officer, wearing a mustard green tracksuit top and bottoms.

In March 2019 Hendry was convicted in his absence of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine in Grimsby.

Police have now told the ECHO that Hendry has been extradited back to the UK and has begun this prison sentence in relation to that conspiracy.

A spokesman for Humberside Police said: "He has now begun a ten year prison sentence in the UK."

Hendry, formerly of Walton, was wanted by Humberside Police in relation to two separate County Lines type drug conspiracies.

Hendry fled the UK for Spain in March 2019 ahead of a trial at Grimsby Crown Court when he was found guilty of of conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine.

The court was told he had boarded a plane to Barcelona on the Sunday before the scheduled trial.

Judge Paul Watson QC said: "This was a widespread and substantial drugs operation.

"It was relatively sophisticated. It was widespread and extensive drug dealing."

They had taken over the house of a drug addict in Willingham Street, Grimsby, and used it to supply drugs in an act known as 'cuckooing'.

Hendry was known to the addict as the "Big Guy" and he was the "senior partner" of the operation.

He was jailed for ten years in his absence.

Hendry was also wanted by the NCA in relation to a second drug plot linked to his brother and mother.

Scott Hendry, then 27 and of Warrington, was sentenced to 14 years after being convicted of conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine.

He was described at Sheffield Crown Court as a crucial part of the drugs operation, along with mum Leslie Aytoun, then 49.

Police said Aytoun, who was arrested in Liverpool, ran the operation with a "graft" phone, taking calls from drug users in Grimsby and directing them where to go to pick up heroin or crack cocaine.

She admitted two counts of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs between September 2017 and March 2019 and was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

Judge Roger Thomas QC, who jailed the mother and son, touched upon the family's involvement in the drug trade. He said: "These three family members were at the pinnacle of the operation."

Hendry's Marbella arrest, just one day after he was named as a fugitive, was welcomed by police.

Tom Dowdall, NCA Deputy Director of International, said: “This is a rapid result and it’s testimony to the power these appeals can have as well as the NCA’s international reach.

“Whether it’s using tip-offs from the public, sharing intelligence or deploying specialist capabilities, UK law enforcement and our Spanish partners are working as one to trace and arrest the other 11 fugitives.

“Those men will know now that we’re after them. They can live their lives anxiously looking over their shoulders and wondering if today’s the day they get caught or they can do the right thing and hand themselves in.”

Chief Inspector Rhodri Troake of Humberside Police said: “We’d like to thank the National Crime Agency for their assistance in locating and arresting Hendry as a part of an efficient and fast-moving operation.

“Hendry is alleged to have trafficked heroin and crack cocaine from Liverpool to Grimsby for onward distribution within our local communities.

“This type of criminality can cause significant disruption to our local communities and we will continue to do everything we can to continue to bring those responsible to justice.”

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