Local Drug Gang Planned to Pose as NHS Workers

Mother and son duo laundered cash for one of London's largest coke dealers

Catherine and Joe Roche
Catherine and Joe Roche who lived in Imperial Wharf. Picture: Met Police

Four people including three from the Hammersmith and Fulham area have been jailed after being convicted of running what police believe was one of the largest cocaine dealing operations in London and the Home Counties.

Their network came to the attention of the police when the messaging system they used to communicate was hacked by police. Operation Venetic is the UK law enforcement response to the takedown of encrypted messaging platform EncroChat.

Officers from the Organised Crime Partnership (OCP), a joint NCA and Metropolitan Police Service unit arrested the gang after hearing them discuss how they were planning to use a stolen NHS ID to avoid being stopped by police while they were distributing their product during lockdown.

Andrew Doyle, aged 35, from North End Road, Hammersmith, had a previous conviction for drugs and is believed by police to have been the ringleader.

Using the alias ‘Neighbourhoodhero’ on EncroChat, Doyle was linked to messages that showed he played a leading role in buying and selling cocaine across London.

In April of last year he was discussing the increased risk of being stopped by police whilst lockdown restrictions were in place.

In one message, he asks another EncroChat user, “Mate, do you have a high vis and stuff for the Van? And like builder clothes? We need to look official in times like this.”

Doyle was speaking with associate Derrick Canning, 50, from Linkfield Road in Isleworth, whose role was to transport the drugs.

Andrew Doyle and Derrick Canning
Andrew Doyle and Derrick Canning

In other messages, Doyle mentions that he has a friend working for the NHS who has an NHS pass if he is stopped and “driving through London, old bill are everywhere…pulling people.”

Regular messages were also exchanged with mother and son duo, Catherine and Joe Roche, who lived in Imperial Wharf in Fulham.

Using the handle ‘Diamondsareforever’ 63-year-old Catherine Roche, mainly handled the cash side of the operation and was aided by her 29-year-old son Joe, AKA ‘Cremebrulee’ in cutting and transporting it.

Joe Roche swapped messages regularly with Doyle and joked about clapping for dealers during the height of the first lockdown.

Doyle, and his counterparts were all arrested at their homes in June last year, where nearly 50,000 MDMA pills, cash, a cash counting machine, encrypted phones and Rolex watches were seized.

This Monday (17 May), all four appeared at Kingston Crown Court were they were sentenced to a combined 33 and a half years in prison, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

Matt McMillan, OCP Manager, said: “We believe this group distributed huge amounts of drugs across parts of London and the Home Counties.

“Evidence showed that they plotted to continue their operation during the first and strictest UK lockdown. A risk that didn’t pay off in the end.

“The trade in class A drugs fuels violence and exploitation and today’s sentences are yet another example of the NCA and Met Police working together to protect the public from this threat.”

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May 18, 2021