British crime boss arrested in Thailand after five years on the run

Richard Wakeling - Twitter NCA

Richard Wakeling the one-legged crime boss was arrested after five years on the run from British authorities.

Wakeling, who has only one leg, is said to have attempted to import more than £8 million´s worth of liquid amphetamine in April 2016.

According to Sky News on Saturday, February 11, he was sentenced in absentia to 11 years in prison. However, he fled the country before the trial was due to begin in 2018.

Wakeling escaped after driving his car from his home in Brentwood to Berkshire, where he caught a bus from Heathrow to Glasgow. There he caught a Stranraer ferry to Belfast before disappearing.

Placed on the National Crime Agency´s (NCA) most wanted list and Interpol was notified, Royal Thai Police arrested him at a garage in Bangkok where he went to fetch his car after it had been repaired.

According to the NCA Wakeling has been living in a beachside town and was travelling using an alternative identity.

NCA Regional Manager for Thailand David Coyle said: “The NCA has worked relentlessly to trace Wakeling and ensure he returns to the UK to serve his prison sentence.

“I thank the prosecutors of the Attorney General’s office, the Royal Thai Police and the Commissioner of the Central Investigations Bureau for their extensive work helping us identify and arrest Wakeling.

“With our partners at home and abroad we are committed to doing everything possible to find those who have fled justice in the UK.

“This is another example of an offender being caught because of the NCA’s global reach and strong relationships with international partners.”

The NCA´s Regional Head of Investigations Jacque Beer said that the public´s response to appeals for assistance to trace the fugitive had been instrumental in his capture.

He added: “Wakeling’s arrest was the culmination of the NCA conducting inquiries around the world to capture him.

“Wakeling had links to Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Canada, Spain and Thailand.

“We pursued these connections and worked with partners from all those countries to help build the intelligence picture around him.

“We have been supported by the public who responded to the media and Crimewatch appeals to provide intelligence, all of which has ultimately led to his capture.”

Wakeling was originally arrested after Border Force agents stopped a truck containing furniture that had travelled from Italy via Ternat in Belgium. The drugs collected in Belgium were contained in plastic drums.

The NCA believes that Wakeling and his accomplices may have been involved in as many as six other importations before his arrest.

Authorities are now working on the extradition of Wakeling, the British crime boss arrested after five years on the run.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at