Anti-lockdown gym owner who went on This Morning exposed as 'professional' drug smuggler

Gym owner turned drug smuggler Nicholas Whitcombe appeared on This Morning to protest lockdowns. Credit: This Morning / Liverpool Echo

A gym owner who appeared on This Morning to protest about Covid lockdowns has been exposed as a drug smuggler.Nicholas Whitcombe, who was fined for refusing to close his Body Tech Fitness site in Moreton during lockdown, was described by a judge as a "professional drug dealer".Whitcombe, of Liverpool, and Jersey resident Anthony Andrew Dryden, both 31, were found guilty of importing £54k worth of cannabis into the island and exportation of cash.

They were both sentenced to three years in prison at Jersey's Royal Court on Wednesday 5 January 2021

Nicholas Whitcombe (L) and Anthony Andrew Dryden (R) have each been jailed for three years. Credit: States of Jersey Police

The investigation found they had worked together over a period in 2018 to organise the importation of cannabis into the island, and export their profits via the postal system.Jersey Customs and Immigration (JCIS) worked closely with Merseyside Police to ensure the arrest and Whitcombe's return to Jersey, where he was charged alongside Dryden.

Rhiannon Small, Senior Manager at JCIS said after the court case: “The custodial sentences handed down by the Royal Court reflect the serious nature of drug trafficking and money laundering into our island; the detection and prevention of such offences remain a priority for JCIS.”

Cannabis seized Credit: Jersey Police

Whitcombe, who received a £1,000 fine for keeping his gym open during a lockdown, appeared on ITV's This Morning in autumn 2020.

He urged the Government to allow gyms in areas hit by regional to remain open.Whitcombe said he had refused to close as he felt gyms were essential to the physical and mental health of the population.The gym boss also launched an online fundraiser which reached £55,000, which he later said was to be donated to mental health charities.