A man considered the UK’s most prolific informant has gone underground after his evidence helped jail serious criminals for more than 250 years in total.
In six trials, the so-called supergrass has provided crucial evidence against more than 20 defendants, including one from the Balkans, who orchestrated the smuggling of millions of pounds worth of cocaine into Britain from Brazil.
The “assisted witness” was a cocaine trafficker who mistook his associates and was kidnapped and tortured for debt before deciding to help the police.
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 serious arson.
Prosecutors said his assistance was “on an unprecedented and exceptional scale.”
The supergrass was in the witness box for a total of 41 days over the six trials under tight security, and has now been put in place with new life.
Agents from the North East Region Special Operations Unit have revealed the extent of their assistance following the final trial at Teesside Crown Court.
His identity is now protected by a court order – although his old name is known to criminals he helped jail – as there are fears he will be a target of vengeance for the rest of his life.
Detective Inspector Alan Turner said: “The criminals who have been put behind bars are prominent members of organized crime groups in the North East of England and beyond.
“This includes a world-class criminal from Montenegro, based in Spain.”
Mr. Turner said he was satisfied with the length of the prison sentences handed down.
“Without the evidence of this witness, they would not have been brought to justice,” he added.
Yvan Nikolic, born in the former Yugoslavia and who had an apartment in central Paris, was a major Balkan criminal who was jailed for 21 years for conspiring to supply cocaine.
The 56-year-old man arranged for the drugs to be shipped from …
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This notice was published: 2021-04-24 06:37:00