Britain’s top supergrass goes into hiding

Britain’s top supergrass goes into hiding after helping criminals get more than 250 years in jail.

A man believed to be the UK’s most prolific informant has gone into hiding after his evidence helped jail serious criminals for a total of more than 250 years.

He must hide under a new identity after giving key information at six major organised crime group trials.

Investigators took eight months, 115 recorded interviews and 10,000 pages of his evidence to bring them to justice.

Teesside crown court heard the former drug dealer, who was tortured after he stole cocaine from a drug baron, made a deal with police and prosecutors.

The male spent 40 days in the witness box and the criminals he shopped now stand to lose millions under Proceeds of Crime powers.

Before getting official protection, he confessed to 23 offences including drug dealing, arson and burglary.

The “assisted witness” was a cocaine dealer who fell foul of his associates and was kidnapped and tortured over debts before deciding to help police.

Picture shows, left-to-right, top-to-bottom; Thomas Blake; Victoria Harding; Phil Steabler; Tony Trott; Benjamin Cahill; Yvan Nikolic; John Freeman; Lee Barnett; James Lee Ratcliff; Calvin Owens, all put away by the supergrass.

And because he was linked to various different groups, he had crucial information about a large number of offenders and crimes including a shooting and a serious arson.

Prosecutors said his help was “on a wholly unprecedented and exceptional scale”.

His identity is now protected by a court order – although his old name was known to the criminals he helped to jail – as it is feared he will be a target for revenge for the rest of his life.

Detective Inspector Alan Turner said: “The criminals who have been put behind bars are significant organised crime group members within north-east England and further afield.

“That includes an international-level criminal from Montenegro, based in Spain” the inspector added.

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