Six years in jail for Anglian Water worker who dealt cannabis and cocaine

Ipswich Crown Court Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Maxwell Kirkby, worked for Anglian Water, was jailed for drug dealing at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Charlotte Bond

A 30-year-old Anglian Water employee who used his job as a cover for commercial scale drug dealing was arrested after police infiltrated an encrypted messaging service used by criminals, a court has heard.

Maxwell Kirkby was linked to the supply of kilos of cannabis and cocaine worth thousands of pounds in EncroChat messages viewed by officers last year, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Jailing Maxwell Kirkby for six years and nine months, Judge Emma Peters said: “This is one of the EncroChat cases where criminals like you were using mobile phones they thought were undetectable and it wasn’t the case.”

She accepted that Kirkby hadn’t been at the “very top of the tree” but said he’d been involved with significant quantities of cannabis and cocaine during the first national lockdown last year.

Kirkby, of Victoria Row, West Row, admitted conspiracy to supply cocaine and cannabis between March and July last year.

Adam Norris, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court said Kirkby was arrested in September last year after police saw messages between him and other people implicating him in drug dealing.

He said Kirkby had worked for Anglian Water and had used his role as cover to facilitate the supply of drugs during lockdown.

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He described the scale of the operation as “ commercial” dealing and said the conspiracy could have involved as much as 40 kilos of cannabis.

He said although Kirkby had been involved with smaller amounts of cocaine weighing between 150g and 450g these had added up to a significant amount of the Class  A drug.

Sebastian Gardiner for Kirkby said his client had been mainly involved in cannabis dealing and had dealt in smaller amounts of cocaine.

He said the amount of cannabis involved was nearer 25 kilos rather than 40 kilos.

He said Kirkby had become involved in the offences because he was worried about money.

Mr Gardiner said Kirkby had been a model prisoner during his time in custody and was hoping to do an Open University degree.

“He has done his best to make the best of a terrible situation,” said Mr Gardiner.

He asked the court to accept he’d played a  significant role rather than a leading role in the offences.