Mental health nurse unmasked as drug baron who lost £20,000,000 cocaine delivery

A mental health nurse has been struck off after being unmasked as a drugs baron who became embroiled in a brutal gang war.

Alan Tobin, 52, was jailed for 20 years after police seized £20million of the Class A drug from a van on the M6 motorway – the UK’s largest ever land seizure.

Losing that 90% consignment led to the pusher being shot near his family’s Prescot home as he was in debt to an unknown figure of the underworld.

When arrested in 2020, it emerged Tobin, from Widnes, Cheshire, was also a qualified mental health nurse with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust.

He used it as cover for his role as the kingpin of a drug empire, which he ran with his brother John Tobin, 40.

Now a virtual Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) fitness to practise committee has ruled that his life in the underworld did ‘impair’ his fitness to practise.

It decided Tobin should be struck off and imposed an interim 18 month suspension – covering his right to appeal within 28 days of the order being made.

The NMC said there was no evidence of ‘clinical concerns’ or harm to patients, but unsurprisingly, it argued Tobin’s role in organised crime carried an ‘inherent risk’.

It was determined the seriousness of the father-of-five’s drugs convictions meant there was a ‘risk of repetition’.

His actions breached the NMC’s professional conduct rule, requiring nurses and midwives to ‘uphold the reputation of your profession at all times’.

In a statement submitted for proceedings, Tobin wrote: ‘I am truly sorry for the shame I have brought on myself and family, not to mention my work colleagues.’

Known as ‘CapeRocket’ on encrypted messaging system EnchroChat, Tobin was jailed in April 2021 with three of his gang members and his brother, who got 19 years and eight months.

The Tobin brothers sold cannabis, heroin, ketamine and cocaine across the North West of England.

They also sold to other gangs in Scotland, London, North Wales, Cornwall, West Yorkshire, Cumbria, Manchester and Humberside.

While Alan and John were in in charge, they employed Robbie Broughton, Brian McQuillan and Simon Leech to do the day-to-day running of their business.

They ran a smooth, and profitable, criminal organisation until detectives began three operations into their customers from 2016 to 2018.

The Tobin empire began to unravel when police seized their £20million of cocaine on August 2, 2018 – hidden in a van underneath specially adapted floorboards.

A man named Jamie Simpson had been instructed to transport the drugs from Kent to Warrington but had been under surveillance at the time.

John Tobin’s DNA was found deposited on the bubble wrap of one of the drug blocks, which he watched being placed into boxes during the packing process.

His gang collapsed on September 9, 2020 after detectives executed warrants in Widnes, Warrington and St Helens and all five pleaded guilty to a string of drugs offences.

The Tobin brothers were also involved in a shooting plot which left an innocent man with life-changing injuries.

Gunman Aaron Bretherton posed as a pizza delivery driver shot the man’s leg on his own doorstep in Warrington in April 2020.

It shattered the victim’s tibia and fibula, leaving him requiring several operations, metal pins and a steel cage to rebuild his leg.

Alan Tobin sent messages discussing causing significant harm to associates of an organised crime group.

He conspired with an alleged gangland boss to get a mutual enemy in prison ‘carved up’, the Liverpool Echo reported.

Messages the brothers exchanged using EncroChat show how Tobin became embroiled in a battle with some of the North’s most notorious criminal bosses over the lost £20million delivery.

Broughton was jailed for eight years and six months, McQuillian for six years and four months and Leech for eight.

Alan Tobin was locked up for an additional eight years in September 2021 for conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm in relation to the shooting – leaving him with a 28-year total.

John was handed a further two-and-a-half years for participating in the activities of an organised crime group, taking his term to over 22 years.

Oldroyd was jailed for 14 years and three months for conspiring to supply cocaine. Simpson, 31, was locked up for 11 and a half years for the same charge.

Leon Cullen was jailed for 22 and a half years in May last year, having been captured in the United Arab Emirates, after nearly two years on the run.

Meanwhile his brother Anthony Cullen was locked up for 27 years in 2019.

Cheshire Police’s detective chief inspector Mike Evans said: ‘The brothers sat at the very top of the chain. They were provided with greater protection to prevent them from being identified as leaders of the organised crime group.

‘At first they sat back and reaped the rewards of their criminality by displaying a lavish lifestyle while employing Broughton, Leech and McQuillan to run the business.

‘For a while their criminal enterprise was seen to be getting bigger and bigger until we began running a number of operations on the gangs they were supplying drugs to.

‘Once we started seizing large quantities of drugs and cash, problems arose, and the Tobin’s soon began to surface, as huge debts were owed. The colossal seizure of 186kg of cocaine saw their reputation ruined.’

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