Richard Wakeling Wiki
Richard Wakeling Biography
Drug kingpin Richard Wakeling, 55, of Brentwood, Ess*x, was finally found after he went on the run in January 2018, ahead of his 12-week trial for trying to import £8m of amphetamine.
Wakeling, who only has one leg, was placed on the National Crime Agency’s most wanted list: he and his gang were caught trying to smuggle £8m worth of amphetamine into the UK via the Channel Tunnel in 2016.
Royal Thai Police officers arrested the criminal on Friday in a Bangkok garage as he was going to pick up his car after repairs.
The National Crime Agency found links to the fugitive around the world, as he had connections to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Spain and Thailand.
He was living his life with a different identity and moved to the coastal city of Hua Hin and now he will face his long pending jail sentence.
NCA Regional Manager for Thailand David Coyle said: “The NCA have worked tirelessly to track down Wakeling and ensure she returns to the UK to serve out her prison sentence.
“I thank the prosecutors from the Attorney General’s office, the Royal Thai Police and the Commissioner of the Central Bureau of Investigation for his extensive work in helping us to identify and arrest Wakeling.
‘With our partners at home and abroad, we are committed to doing everything we can to find those who have fled justice in the UK.
“This is yet another example of a criminal trapped due to the global reach of the NCA and its strong relationships with international partners.”
Wakeling served an 11-year prison sentence in April 2018 in his absence for the multi-million dollar illegal drug operation at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Authorities caught his lorry driver Lesley Muffett, 59, in their X-ray system at the UK border in April 2016, after detecting plastic drums filled with liquid amphetamine inside her van.
It triggered an investigation by the National Crime Agency, which also revealed that Darren Keane, 34, and Stuart Davidson, 65, were involved.
Muffett had tried to board a train through the Channel Tunnel while transporting furniture from Italy, the NCA said.
He stopped at Ternat in Belgium and phone evidence showed fellow trucker Davidson told him to pick up the drugs, the trial heard.
Wakeling, who was in contact with drug suppliers in Belgium and the Netherlands, contacted Davidson and Keane to arrange the trip, prosecutors told the jury.
The NCA’s regional head of investigations, Jacque Beer, said: “Wakeling’s arrest was the culmination of NCA investigations around the world to capture him.”
Wakeling had links to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Spain and Thailand. We seek these connections and work with partners in all of those countries to help build the intelligence picture around them.
“We have received support from the public who responded to calls by the media and Crimewatch to provide intelligence, all of which ultimately led to his capture.”
In 2019, the NCA issued an appeal for help in finding Wakeling and released CCTV footage of him before he fled.
He left his house on Juniper Court, Beech Avenue, at 9:48 am on Friday, January 5. He left in his car, a white Audi Q3.
The car was in the Iver area later that day before he took a bus from Heathrow to Glasgow. The next day he took a ferry from Stranraer to Belfast.
A week later, on Saturday, January 13, Wakeling’s car was driven back to his home.