Luxurious hotel stays lands major Leeds heroin dealer back behind bars

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A heroin dealer who broke out of prison and was later found hiding in Spain has been handed another jail term - after he was caught staying in luxurious hotels without notifying the authorities.

Daniel Dobbs made headlines in 2014 when he was given more than 13 years for supplying drugs, and then escaped in 2018. But the 35-year-old was jailed again at Leeds Crown Court for multiple breaches of a criminal protection order, which he signed before his release in January of last year and was designed to restrict his liberty.

The strict regulations of the order stipulate he must only have one phone, SIM card and number, and must inform the National Crime Agency (NCA) when he was not staying at his home address, Stainburn Crescent in Moortown.

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Over the course of 2023 he aroused suspicion by registering a new phone on three occasions, saying the previous model was either broken or he was given an upgrade. In June he was issued a warning by the NCA over access to social media which put him in breach.

However, investigations by the NCA said he had left the area three times and stayed in hotels, first in Herne Bay in Kent in August of last year, then at a hotel in Windermere in September, and then at the four-star Shrigley Hall Hotel and Spa in Macclesfield in December. He had not informed the NCA of his whereabouts.

In addition, he had also dined at a restaurant in London, from which CCTV footage was analysed and found that he had two phones on him, which he could be seen removing from his pocket and placing on the table, prosecutor Jennifer Gatland told the court.

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Dobbs was arrested on February 29. Officers found the phone he had declared, but with a replacement SIM, which he had not declared. His home was searched where they found another SIM still in its packaging, and found an iPhone under the seat of his car. He initially claimed he knew nothing of the iPhone but later admitted knowing it was there, despite maintaining it was not his.

Dobbs stayed at luxurious hotels, including Shrigley Hall (pictured) which put him in breach of his CPO. (pics by CPO /National World)Dobbs stayed at luxurious hotels, including Shrigley Hall (pictured) which put him in breach of his CPO. (pics by CPO /National World)
Dobbs stayed at luxurious hotels, including Shrigley Hall (pictured) which put him in breach of his CPO. (pics by CPO /National World) | CPO /National World

He admitted the seven breaches and was returned to prison, having been recalled as a result. He has 11 convictions for 23 offences. He was sentenced to 13-and-a-half years in January 2014 after he was convicted of trafficking heroin and amphetamines. He then HMP Hatfield Lakes, a category D open prison South Yorkshire in November 2018, using false documents.

He was arrested in 2021 in Málaga, a province of southern Spain, in an illegal underground cigarette factory. He was extradited back to Britain and given another two years' jail to run consecutively to his drugs sentence. He appeared in court for the CPO breaches via video link from HMP Leeds. Mitigating on his behalf, Mark Foley said there was "no deception" being used for the hotel stays, that he used his own name and the hotel charges appeared on his heavily-scrutinised bank statements.

For the phone and SIM breaches, he said: "There is no evidence that they were used for criminal activity." He said since his release, Dobbs, known as "Dobbo", had set up a building company which was "thriving".

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The judge, Recorder Simon Jackson KC told Dobbs: "There's no evidence of these failures being linked to any criminal activity, but I'm quite satisfied that you will have been aware of all the restrictions placed upon you. You are an intelligent man running a successful building company.

"There's a pattern of non-compliance that raises a worrying concern. I'm satisfied there have been warnings that you ignored and these breaches were deliberate."

He gave him 10 months' jail. After this has been served, he can apply for parole after the court heard he could potentially remain in jail until 2030 due to his previous sentences.