'Armed officers spoke to EncroChat judge in chambers' - court says 'police arranged extra security'

ARMED police reportedly spoke with a crown court judge dealing with an EncroChat prosecution in chambers.

The case went into chambers after defendants admitted a number of drugs conspiracy charges.

There are reports that soon after this armed police were seen going into chambers with the judge.

Asked about the situation, a court official said: "The police have arranged for additional security within the building."

Other men, who deny the charges, still face trial in the same case and it was adjourned to a later date.

The EncroChat investigation happened after Dutch and French law enforcement managed to hack into the supposedly secure communication system in April 2020. They allowed access to the National Crime Agency (NCA) and British police forces to historic and live messaging being sent on the devices used by around 9,000 people in the UK. This triggered scores of police raids across the country with more than 1,500 arrests so far and hundreds of people charged.

The NCA says it is the biggest single operation against organised crime the country has ever seen. However, many cases have been held up as there have been a number of legal challenges around admissibility of the evidence as live interception of phone calls in the UK is not usually admissible.