UK drug dealer caught out by cheese pic

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. big cheese / bɪg tʃiz / (n.) – an important or powerful person

    I heard he’s the big cheese in the tech industry. Everyone wants the chance to work with him.

  2. plead guilty / plid ˈgɪl ti / (idiom) – to admit that one did a crime

    He went to jail after pleading guilty to setting the fire.

  3. conspiracy / kənˈspɪr ə si / (n.) – a secret plan made by a group of people to do something harmful or illegal

    One of the people involved in the conspiracy to rob the bank was arrested.

  4. were it not for (something/someone) / war ɪt nɒt fɔr / (idiom) – used to explain that a situation would be different if someone or something hadn’t helped or affected it somehow

    Were it not for her shoulder injury, she would’ve won the game.

  5. reputable / ˈrɛp yə tə bəl / (adj.) – trusted and respected

    The news came from a reputable source, so we can believe it.


Read the text below.

A drug dealer in the English city of Liverpool thought he was the big cheese — until police got evidence they needed to arrest him from a picture he shared of himself holding a small block of Stilton.

Carl Stewart, 39, was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison at Liverpool Crown Court on May 23 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply cocaine, heroin, MDMA and ketamine, as well as transferring criminal property.

Were it not for a photo he shared of himself holding the cheese block from the reputable British retailer Marks & Spencer, he could still very well be supplying large amounts of drugs.

Stewart was arrested after he posted the photo on the encrypted messaging service EncroChat, via his handle “Toffeeforce.” Unknown to him, the service had been cracked by police in Europe. From that, his palm and fingerprints were analyzed and police had their man.

Merseyside Police Detective Inspector Lee Wilkinson said Stewart had been “caught out by his love of Stilton cheese.” (AP)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The police managed to hack EncroChat and uncover criminal activities that took place there. Do you think the police should have the right to hack other people’s private data for investigation purposes? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • After learning about this incident, how do you feel about using online messaging platforms (ex. less willing, no difference from before)? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Stewart posted evidence of his crime on EncroChat. Do you think messaging apps have the responsibility to prevent their platforms from being used for crimes? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Why do you think some people post photos and videos of their crimes online (ex. they think it’s cool, they don’t believe the police will see it)? Have you ever seen evidence of a crime online? Would you tell the police if you did? Discuss.