Bodybuilder, 28, jailed after making £40k selling steroids on Instagram

A bodybuilder has been jailed after he made £40k selling steroids to other weightlifters using his Instagram account that boasted 50,000 followers.

Daniel Lawless, 28, started pedalling the drugs after he was approached by a firm called King’s North which enlisted him to become a sales rep.

Lawless, from Altrincham, Manchester, began advertising the product on Instagram, telling his thousands of followers to go to the website in return for free drugs, Manchester Crown Court heard.

The steroid salesman kept in contact with the company through social media site Wickr, which had end-to-end encrypted messages, the Manchester Evening News reports.

Over a 10-month stint Lawless made the company over £166,000, of which he kept 25% profits, meaning he took home a staggering £40,000 for his role in the scheme.

During a raid at his parents home police found designer t-shirts still in their packaging and boxes of perfume.

And whilst searching his own address, detectives found blister packs of a ‘haul of human growth hormones’ including tablets and vials of drugs similar to steroids.

Lawless pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of criminal property, being concerned in the supply of class C drugs and possession of class C drugs.

He was sentenced to 36-months behind bars.

Following a trial of issue this week, Judge Michael Leeming said: “All the drugs found could be used to build up muscle and enhance muscular and sporting performance.

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“It is not unlawful to possess anabolic steroids, but it is an offence to supply them or to be concerned in the supply of them.

"The defendant accepts playing his part in supplying class C controlled drugs to others and acting as the go-between with TNP/King’s North.

“All the communications between him and TNP were by Wickr, and he directed his Instagram followers to the website in return for free drugs.

“He was given a cut of the profit of 25%. TNP created an email for the defendant and asked for names from the sales, and gave him the small cut of 25% for him to pass on the names to TNP.”

It was said that when Lawless returned home, he was arrested and gave no reply to his caution.

They found his phone was reset to ‘factory settings’, but the ‘Notes’ app was recovered and included a note titled ‘Order’ and contained names and addresses of customers, including their shipping details, the court was told.

These included addresses from all over the UK, Europe and North America.

Addressing the court, prosecutor Vanessa Thompson said: “He played a significant role through social media and encrypted communications and a significant amount of money was transferred through the defendant’s account.

“The defendant had close links to the original source and had regular contact with Kings North.

“He made around £40,000 in a 10 month period. These were multiple street deals – it’s impossible to know the total weight of the drugs.”

Lawless was said to have no previous convictions bar one caution for when he was a youth.

Sentencing him Judge Leeming said: “I find you knew the scale of the operation to supply the class C drugs and the quantity of the sums generated from the sale of the drugs.

“You were not pressured or intimidated. You played a very significant part and leading role in what took place. You were the essential conduit – the means of contact and communication.”

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