ENCROCHAT HACK: Vincent Coggins pleads guilty to drugs conspiracy and blackmail ahead of trial

A MAN charged under the Encrochat investigation has pleaded guilty to three charges ahead of the trial.

Vincent Coggins, 55, from The Spinney, Stockbridge Village, admitted the offences at Manchester Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday, November 24).

He admitted that between March 1 2020 and the June 17 2020, to conspiring together and with Dean Borrows, Paul Fitzsimmons, Darren Tierney, Paul Glynn and others to supply a controlled drug of Class A, namely cocaine to another.

He also pleaded guilty to between March 1 2020 and June 17 2020 conspiring together and with Kevin Rimmer, Darren Tierney, Dean Borrows, and others to supply a controlled drug of Class A, namely diamorphine to another.

The third charge Coggins admitted is that between the May 22 2020 and the June 17 2020, he conspired

with others to make unwarranted demands with menaces.

Coggins submitted a basis of plea document that was accepted by the prosecution.

A second defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the same charges.

Three conspiracy to murder charges that Coggins and the other man faced were left to lie on file by the prosecution.

Two other men will face trial in connection with the drugs, blackmail and conspiracy to murder charges before Judge Mr Justice Ian Dove.

The Encrochat investigation happened after Dutch and French law enforcement managed to hack into the encrypted Encrochat mobile phone system in April 2020.

They allowed access to British police forces to historic and live messaging being sent on the devices used by around 9,000 people in the UK.

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.