Lancashire

Earby drugs factory: On-the-run builder jailed in absence

Darren Henderson and Earby drugs factory Image copyright NWROCU
Image caption Darren Henderson failed to attend his trial for conspiracy to supply a controlled drug

A builder who went on the run after helping to set up an amphetamine factory has been sentenced to seven years in his absence.

Darren Henderson, 52, failed to attend his trial for conspiracy to supply a controlled drug.

The judge at Preston Crown Court also issued a warrant for his arrest.

Eleven others were sentenced for their part in operating "industrial scale" labs in Lancashire and Greater Manchester in July.

Henderson, of Monkswood Bank, Leeds played a key role in setting up the amphetamine lab in Victoria Mill, Earby in May and June last year, the court heard.

'Wretched souls'

He installed drug-making equipment worth tens of thousands of pounds including a large reactor vessel, capable of producing 100 litres of amphetamine per batch.

But when he arrived at the site on 6 June last year, he saw police and fire crews there.

The father-of-two is believed to have fled to London and has not been seen since.

Judge Beverley Lunt, sentencing Henderson in his absence, said his role was not as a "mere builder" and that he "knew what was going on here".

"You are not an amphetamine addict - you just set out to make a lot of money from those wretched souls who are."

Detectives from the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (NWROCU) have released his image in a bid to find him.

Henderson is white, of heavy build, 5ft 9ins, and has blue eyes, short mousey brown hair dyed blond, and could be wearing glasses.

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