Revealed: How police caught up with ‘untouchable’ Sunderland drugs fugitive

Stuart Mottram has been jailed for seven years for his part in a �7m drugs conspiracy.
Stuart Mottram has been jailed for seven years for his part in a �7m drugs conspiracy.
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A fugitive drug dealer who planned to deliver significant amounts of drugs across the North East has been caught after leaving a clue for investigators – a receipt in his name for servicing his Rolex watch.

Stuart Mottram, 47, from Sunderland, was part of a Tyneside-based organised crime group who tried to smuggle vast amounts of liquid amphetamine to the UK in 2012.

Police recovered significant amount of liquid amphetamine which had been smuggled to the UK.

Police recovered significant amount of liquid amphetamine which had been smuggled to the UK.

Dividing his time between Spain and Holland, he was the gang’s ‘go-to’ man in Europe.

Border Force officers seized 60 litres of their drugs from the cab of a lorry destined for the North East in October 2012, and a second batch of 25 litres in Sunderland in February 2013.

The drugs were estimated to have had a likely street value in excess of £7m.

Mottram went on the run, evading law enforcement after the drugs were seized and other members of his group had been arrested and were later jailed.

This was a long and complex investigation and Mottram probably thought he was untouchable.

David Norris, National Crime Agency

He was caught when officers from the National Crime Agency worked with Dutch police to track down mobile phones involved in the conspiracy to Amsterdam.

They suspected Mottram owned the phones, one of which was used to make a call in the centre of Amsterdam, around the area of the jewellers.

They cross-referenced the phone’s data with the name and time on a receipt at the shop.

In May, Mottram pleaded guilty to conspiring to import the drugs at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison and a three-year travel restriction which means he will not be able to leave the UK following his release.

David Norris, from the National Crime Agency, said: “Mottram was absolutely a key player for drug traffickers in UK and abroad – he was the go-to man in Holland and Spain.

“This was a long and complex investigation and Mottram probably thought he was untouchable.

“This case is a prime example of how using the ‘where and when’ of a mobile phone can make really important prosecutions possible.”

Five other men have already been convicted for their part in the conspiracy.