A once respected businessman "brought shame" on himself after getting embroiled in the murky world of EncroChat drug dealing and money laundering - helping to disguise up to £500,000 in dirty cash.

Anthony Harrison, known by the nickname 'Tosh', was unmasked as 'Walkthedog', a handle on the encrypted phone network which has resulted in the downfall of hundreds of serious criminals since it was hacked by French police in 2020.

The 37-year-old was caught out thanks to other users calling him Tosh or 'H', and by a message referring to him collecting dirty money in a blue Range Rover, matching the blue Range Rover Sport seized on his arrest. When his home was raided, police found memorabilia and designer gear that when included with the car were valued at a total of around £200,000.

READ MORE: 'Malign presence' Niall Barry could not hide his role as head of toxic OCG

READ MORE: Ashley Dale was sat in pyjamas watching TV when James Witham kicked down her front door and executed her

Merseyside Police detectives were also tipped-off by his conversations with a man using the handle 'MadeiraBlue', who cannot be named for legal reasons. 'MadeiraBlue' referred to a holiday the pair had been on together in the South of France, and pictures of them together were recovered from Harrison's iPhone.

Harrison, of Roby Nook, Roby, decided against fighting the case and admitted conspiracies to supply ecstasy and cannabis and one count of conspiracy to conceal criminal property (money laundering). He appeared for sentence at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday, supported in court by a large group of family and friends.

The court heard Harrison was the director of several companies including HFA Developments Ltd, Sociotech, Wemadeyouluxe, HC Consultants and Developments, TTF Motors, Miraclecash and Glamourfans.

Nicola Daley, prosecuting, told the court: "For the most part, the messages involve the Defendant discussing with [MadeiraBlue]he movements of cash and in particular passing on a large quantity to [another businessman who cannot be named for legal reasons].

"The Defendant refers to [the businessman] not wanting to meet the jockeys, or couriers, and instead them needing to arrange for the cash to be delivered to another address and then taken across.

A range rover which helped to unmask Anthony Harrison, aka 'Tosh', as EncroChat money launderer and drug dealer 'Walkthedog'
A range rover which helped to unmask Anthony Harrison, aka 'Tosh', as EncroChat money launderer and drug dealer 'Walkthedog'

"There is further reference within the messages to the provision of loan contracts or other similar documentation and money being transferred between company accounts, including reference to ‘glamor’, which the prosecution say is reference to Glamourfans."

Ms Daley said: "In relation to the money laundering specifically, the Defendant appears to have played a crucial central role in not only the practical arrangements for the physical movement of cash but also making suggestions as to the best ways to transfer between accounts so as not to attract the attention of the authorities."

The court heard Harrison appeared to become involved in discussions about a stash of around 10,000 ecstasy tablets, which a man referred to as 'Ginger' wanted rid of. Ms Daley told the court: "The messages relevant to count one begin on May 21, 2020, when the Defendant sends an image of high quality MDMA tablets to ‘AcidGlove’, referring to them being 200mg Fortnites."

The man behind the username 'AcidGlove' was unmasked as 27-year-old amateur footballer Bobby Allen in a previous investigation. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison for drugs supply offences at Liverpool Crown Court in February.

Ms Daley said: "The defendant suggests that they are available but asks for 50 to be kept aside and then suggests they would be available in West Derby the following day. It is suggested that there are 10,000 of them. Thereafter the defendant appears to have been in contact with [MadeiraBlue] in relation to the same transaction, suggesting that he has a '10pack for little Bob.

"He later refers to potentially being able to get hold of another 10,000 as ‘Ginger’ has them; suggesting that Ginger can’t really sell them, due to the effects of covid and festivals being cancelled, and 'wants out’ and he refers to Ginger having paid 25p a tablet for them initially, and is therefore looking to sell them for the same amount he paid so as not to lose out. "

Images of ectasy tablets send by Anthony Harrison, aka 'Tosh', who was jailed after being unmasked as EncroChat money launderer and drug dealer 'Walkthedog'
Images of ectasy tablets send by Anthony Harrison, aka 'Tosh', who was jailed after being unmasked as EncroChat money launderer and drug dealer 'Walkthedog'

On the morning of May 23, 2020, there was mention of a package of ecstasy, referred to as the "bitcoin package", and discussion over whether it contained 5,000 tablets. Ms Daley said: "The Prosecution submits that the court could safely conclude that by this stage AcidGlove has taken control of the packages and isn’t convinced that there were in fact 5,000 tablets in one of the actual packages and there is a discussion about swapping it for cannabis."

Damian Nolan, defending, said his client had no previous convictions. He told the court: "The level of involvement this defendant had in the drugs is summarised in his response to the question what to do with them. He is told they are poor quality and there is a reference to 'fish food'.

"The defendant's response is 'sell them, eat them, do as you please with them'. That's germane we submit to assessing what this defendant did with those drugs."

Mr Nolan said Harrison felt deep regret and remorse, and accepted he had "brought shame" on his family, who had nevertheless decided to stick with him.

He said: "This has been an extremely humbling experience for Mr Harrison. He is described as someone generous, helpful and giving with his time and unselfish.

"With respect of his business, HFA Developments, he has lost everything he has built up because of the stupidity and idiocy of becoming embroiled in this world. I can say it, but I can't say it as powerfully as he feels it."

District Judge Jack McGarva, passing sentence, told Harrison he took into account the "significant" mitigating features of the case including his previous good character, immediate guilty pleas and genuine remorse.

He told Harrison: "Cannabis is not a benign drug, it causes genuine harm and psychological problems for people using it regularly. Ecstasy is a Class A drug which harms people using it and brings misery to our communities."

Harrison was jailed for a total of eight years, of which he will serve half in prison before being released on licence.

Don't miss the biggest and breaking stories by signing up to the Echo Daily newsletter here