Drug dealer caught with £1 million stolen painting and £450,000 of cocaine and ecstasy jailed

Fisher (left) and Lal were both jailed

Fisher (left) and Lal were both jailed

Friday, October 20, 2017

A drug dealer who was caught with a £1 million stolen painting and £450,000 worth of drugs in his home has been jailed for eight years and eight months.

Harry Fisher 28 and of Kingston Upon Thames, was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court today, Friday October 20, after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and acquiring criminal property.

Fisher also admitted a charge of handling stolen goods after a £1 million painting, which had been stolen from the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham in Berkshire in 2012, was found in his home in Kingston Upon Thames.

Detectives in the Met's Organised Crime Command arrested Fisher on 15 June after they stopped a Mercedes in a residential road in Strood, Kent.

Officers carried out a drugs search of the vehicle and found one kilogram of cocaine and £30,000 in cash.

A passenger in the vehicle, Zak Lal, 32 and of Strood, Rochester, was also arrested and he has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs and acquiring criminal property.

Lal also admitted a charge of possession of an offensive weapon in relation to a knife he had with him at the time of his arrest. 

He was jailed for five years and eight months at the same hearing.

The home addresses of both men were searched by police later the same day and officers found three kilograms of cocaine and 15,000 ecstasy tablets in Fisher's flat in Kingston.

The painting, entitled Cookham from Englefield, was also found during the search which was later identified as the one stolen from the Stanley Spencer art gallery.

Fisher's family address in Fulham was also searched and police found a further quantity of class A drugs and £40,000 in cash.

A search of Lal's family address revealed £2,000 in cash and a number of cheap, disposable mobile phones.

The total street value of the drugs was estimated to be £450,000.

Detective Inspector Andy Whitewood, of the Met's Organised Crime Command, said: "These two men were caught in possession of a considerable amount of class A drugs as the result of a proactive investigation targeting high end, organised drug supply.

"A search of Fisher's address revealed a stolen £1m painting, this demonstrates the link between drugs trafficking and serious, acquisitive crime. I am pleased to say that the painting has now been returned to the art gallery from where it was stolen. The guilty pleas entered by both men were due to the weight of the evidence against them and are a testimony to the depth of the investigation.

"The sentences handed to these defendants should act as a deterrent to anyone else involved in the supply of illegal drugs."

A spokesman for the Stanley Spencer Gallery said: "The Stanley Spencer Gallery volunteers are immensely grateful to the various police sections who have contributed to the recovery of this remarkable painting which was stolen from us more than five years ago."