Drug dealer caught out by photo of own hand holding cannabis

Nathan Harding holding cannabis Credit: Merseyside Police

Two men have been jailed after one was identified from a photograph he took holding cannabis in his hand.

Nathan Harding, 30, of Maud Street, Toxteth and Craig O’Hare, 33, of Fairfield Avenue, Roby were sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court for conspiracy to supply £1.5 million worth of Class A and B drugs.

Harding plotted to sell cannabis, cocaine and heroin worth £1.5 million Credit: Merseyside Police

Both men were arrested in June by as part of an international operation targeting criminals who used a secret mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat, in an attempt to evade detection.

Harding used the Encrochat handle Magiccider between April to May 2020. The handle was then passed over to O’Hare who used it from May 2020. Subsequently Harding created a new handle called Lesserhedge to continue carrying out his criminal activity.

Harding was identified from his fingerprints which were analysed after sharing an image on his Encro device of him holding cannabis in his hand.

Harding was identified from his fingerprints in this photograph

Detectives discovered text messages where he discussed the sale of cocaine and heroin with an estimated wholesale value of £521,000, along with 193 kilos of a cannabis worth around £1 million.

Encrochat data also evidenced that O’Hare had transported the drugs and found that he supplied up to three kilos of Class A drugs and 10 kilos of cannabis. He was identified through personal details in messages.

Both men were due to stand trial on Monday 6 December, however on the day they decided to plead guilty and were jailed.

Harding was sentenced to 18 years and 5 months while O’Hare received 6 years 6 months imprisonment as they worked together to supply multi kilos of cocaine, heroin and cannabis across Merseyside and other parts of the UK.

Anyone with information about drug dealing in their communities is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.