KAVANAGH CASE: Gary Vickery brought back to UK as questions over why he was bailed continue





WANTED drug importer Gary Vickery (above left) has been brought back from Lanzarote to the UK while questions remain about why he was ever granted unconditional bail at the start of a multi-million drugs prosecution.

Vickery, 38, originally from Dublin, was escorted by NCA officers on a flight from Lanzarote yesterday (November 4), following his arrest by the Spanish Guardia Civil on 20 October. He was due to appear before Ipswich Crown Court today (November 5), when it is expected he would be remanded into custody.. In July 2020 admitted via a remote link from the Canaries to having a leading role in conspiring to import class A and B drugs and money laundering with Thomas "Bomber" Kavanagh and Daniel Canning in July 2020, but their sentence has been dogged by delays and has still to take place.

Causes of the delays have included Vickery (above) and Canning being given unconditional bail allowing them to fly to the Canaries and Ireland respectively. In July 2021, Vickery failed to attend Ipswich Crown Court where he was due to be remanded in custody, and at the end of July a warrant was issued for his arrest. He subsequently failed to surrender to the court again at a further hearing on September 27 this year. He was arrested on Wednesday 20 October at a bar in the town of Yaiza, south of Lanzarote, by officers from the Guardia Civil as part of a joint operation with the NCA.

Kavanagh, 53, from Tamworth and Canning, 42, originally from Dublin are both already in custody awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiring to import class A and B drugs and money laundering. Canning also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition. Officers evidenced the three's involvement in large scale drug shipments worth from £23 to £30 million at UK street value, as well as movements of cash, with Kavanagh, 53, from Tamworth and Daniel Canning, 42, originally from Dublin.

NCA Deputy Director Matt Horne said: “Vickery was given ample opportunity to return to the UK following his guilty plea, but has failed to come back on every occasion. “We will ensure those who cause harm to the UK though organised crime are held accountable, and this case highlights our tenacity.

“I’d like to thank the NCA officers here in the UK, and our international liaison team in Spain, who have worked closely with colleagues in the Guardia Civil to locate Vickery.”

However, the NCA did not push the CPS to urge for Vickery and Canning to be remanded in custody or even for conditional bail when the had their first hearing in the case in January 2020.

The CPS has since claimed the pair did not "meet the threshold for custody".

However, this response is at odds with the CPS bail guidance and the Bail Act which say that the severity of the offence and the defendant's alleged associates and connections to foreign countries can be taken into consideration.