Two dealers have received lengthy prison terms, one in his absence, after police inquiries uncovered a plot to produce and sell large amounts of drugs.

The sentences were imposed upon Colin Hindmarsh the self-acclaimed biggest producer of amphetamines in the North East, and his right-hand man, Robert Taylor, who acted as courier, driver and warehouseman for the illicitly-produced substances.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Hindmarsh produced 482 kilos of amphetamines, said to be worth more than £240,000, with plans to make and distribute greater quantities.

The Northern Echo: Colin Hindmarsh, left, and Robert Steven Taylor given long sentences for drug supply offences at

Using the handle ‘britishtrump’, he communicated via an EncroChat encrypted mobile phone to set up the deals.

He also supplied quantities of cannabis via fellow EncroChat-user, Taylor, who would store and ferry them around the region.

Hindmarsh arranged the supply of multiple kilos of drugs and would sometimes use Taylor to collect or store the consignments, as well as the associated cash proceeds, on his behalf.

The court was told that on other occasions he would broker deals between one person to another.

Taylor’s role in the conspiracy would be to follow Hindmarsh’s orders, arrange to collect or deliver drugs and money with other EncroChat users as well as storing the drugs on behalf of his co-accused.

Northumbria Police officers, working as part of Operation Venetic, began investigating the pair and, after intercepting EncroChat messages, the conspiracy was uncovered in 2020.

Hindmarsh was arrested in April 2021, and Taylor in August that year, both on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class B drugs.

While Hindmarsh appeared at the court in September last year, Taylor, who was also due to attend the hearing that day, was reported to have fled the UK prior to the court date. 

Hindmarsh pleaded guilty to being part of a conspiracy to supply amphetamines.

He also admitted producing and supplying 482 kilos of amphetamines, arranging to produce a further 260 kilos of the class B drug and supplying four kilos of cannabis with Taylor.

The Northern Echo:

The case against Taylor was heard by a jury at a trial in his absence.

He was found him guilty of conspiracy to supply amphetamines and cannabis andguilty of converting criminal property, after a Porsche 911 Turbo was recovered by police from his home address upon his arrest.

It was said to be valued at £44,991 when purchased. 

Taylor was also found guilty of possession of cocaine and cannabis after recoveries of the drugs were made at his home address.

Hindmarsh, 33 of Brodwick Close, Newcastle, received a nine-year prison sentence at the court, last Friday (February 2).

Taylor, 53, of Exeter Road, Wallsend, who remains a wanted man, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison, which he will have to serve upon apprehension.

Following the sentencing hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Marc Michael, of Northumbria Police, said: “We will always look to root out this kind of criminality, which destroys lives and causes misery for those in our communities.

“Hindmarsh and Taylor were making large sums of money dealing huge amounts of illicit substances, but thanks to the dedicated work of our officers we have been able to put a stop to their illegal enterprise.”

Det Chief Insp Michael said the case should serve “as a warning” to anyone thinking they can get away with drug dealing by using such technology to apparently keep their communication hidden from investigators.

He said, simply: “You won’t.

“We will use all of the powers at our disposal to track you down and put you before the courts to ensure that justice is served.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

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“As part of Operation Sentinel, we will continue our clampdown on organised crime and would ask that those in our communities continue to work with us by reporting any suspicious activity and sharing their concerns so that we can take the appropriate action.”

If anyone has seen something suspicious in their community, they are asked to use the ‘Report’ page of the Northumbria Police website or to call the force on 101.

Alternatively, the charity Crimestoppers can be rung confidentially, if necessary, by calling (0800) 555111.