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Surprise of #Encrochat: Dad's true identity rumbled as he sat with his feet up watching Spider-Man

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A cocaine trafficker was rumbled thanks in part to a picture showing him with his feet up watching Spider-Man.

The infiltration of EncroChat by law enforcement authorities in 2020 saw a light shone on the criminal underworld, with those using the network to trade in drugs and illegal weapons having their previously secret discussions laid bare for the world to see.

And when investigators combed through the communications of the service user behind the monikers "HonestMallet" and "IvyHound", who had been connected to the supply of 27.5kg of cocaine, they discovered a whole host of clues which led them straight to the door of Darren Ablett's home in Melling.

This trail of breadcrumbs included chatter about Hollyoaks, luxury cars, "making millions" and previous spells spent behind bars. He had also spoke of supposed warnings made to one of his debtors, in which he was said to have threatened that he was "gonna blow his and his dad's wigs off".

One early hint came in a message Ablett had sent to "AcidChest" - later revealed to be his "very close associate" Craig Gallagher, of Inchcape Road in Childwall, who was locked up for 24 years earlier this month after the 36-year-old gang boss admitted conspiracy to import cocaine, conspiracy to supply cannabis, conspiracy to convert criminal property and assisting an offence of conspiracy to transfer firearms - from his Honest Mallet handle on April 3, 2020. In it, he gave detailed instructions of a location on Station Road, only metres away from his address on Waddicar Lane, for a handover of cash.

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