Man arrested and drugs seized after search warrant in Essex

UKAD release dated 17/01/2023

Following a joint operation between Essex Police and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD), a man in his twenties has been arrested after performance-enhancing drugs were found at a house in Maldon, Essex.

At 5.15am this morning, Tuesday 17 January, police officers from The Essex Police Serious Violence Unit entered a property accompanied by Investigators from UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). A quantity of Clenbuterol was seized along with an iPhone and small amount of cannabis.

Clenbuterol is an anabolic agent prohibited at all times within sport. The substance can be used as a performance-enhancing drug to burn fat and increase muscle mass.

The man was arrested for the unlawful importation of drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

This operation is part of ongoing work between UKAD, UK Border Force and Essex Police to tackle the illegal trafficking and use of steroids and other illegal supplements. 

UKAD’s Head of Intelligence and Investigations, Mario Theophanous said: “UKAD is committed to tackling doping in sport and a key focus of our intelligence work is to engage with multiple agencies, including law enforcement to share information and disrupt the trafficking of illegal performance enhancing drugs.

The substance found is prohibited at all times in sport under the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List, is illegal to sell, and poses a substantial risk to the health of the individuals using them. 

It is a serious criminal offence to illegally traffic and sell these substances and we work tirelessly with law enforcement to identify and stop those responsible. This case also highlights the importance of receiving intelligence and collaborating with agencies to act on it. We encourage anyone with suspicions of doping activity in sport to come forward in confidence to UKAD’s Protect Your Sport initiative.”

Detective Sergeant Dunbar of the Serious Violence Unit’s intelligence team said:

“Ordering drugs on the internet and getting them shipped to the UK is illegal and we are working closely with our partners to disrupt supply lines and catch those who are profiting from this criminal activity.

Illegal drugs of all descriptions cause harm and fuel violence. Drugs ordered online are not safe and people who might be purchasing these substances from associates at their local gym or sports club cannot be sure what they are putting into their bodies.

Anyone who believes they can bring banned substances into the country and sell them on will be discovered and arrested.”

The production and sale of drugs by organised criminal gangs involves the exploitation of vulnerable people, including children, who can be forced into criminal activity against their will. The trade in illegal drugs is inextricably linked to violence and the proceeds from drugs funds more criminal activity which leads to fear and misery for individuals and communities. Stopping the criminals behind the sale of drugs is vital in tackling violent crime and helps keep local neighbourhoods safe.

The motivations for using image and performance enhancing drugs in sport are varied but include a win at all costs mentality, body image and criminality. Athletes caught taking these substances face a lengthy ban from sport.