Ex England footballer jailed over plot to smuggle 24kgs of cannabis

8 September 2022, 07:43 | Updated: 8 September 2022, 09:25

Former England footballer Faye Dunn has been sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars for her role in a plot to supply 24kgs of cannabis.
Former England footballer Faye Dunn has been sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars for her role in a plot to supply 24kgs of cannabis. Picture: Alamy/Merseyside Police

By Lauren Lewis

A former England footballer has been sentenced to three years and nine months behind bars for her role in a plot to supply 24kgs of cannabis.

Faye Dunn, otherwise known as Faye Canty, 38, of Walpole Avenue in Whiston, was arrested alongside her father by Merseyside Police at Manchester Airport in June.

The mother-of-two was detained as part of the police's Operation Venetic, an international operation targeting criminals who used a mobile encryption service, commonly referred to as Encrochat, in an attempt to evade detection.

Dunn, who was a rising star in England's U19 team 20 years ago, used the Encrochat handle ‘Stiffninja’ in a conspiracy to supply 24kgs of cannabis.

It was also evidenced in court that she was involved in laundering £650,000.

Dunn and her father appeared together in Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday.

Father, Michael Dunn, 68 years, of Derby Street in Prescot, received two-year suspended sentence for his part in drug dealing.

He was arrested and charged in July for conspiracy to supply a controlled Class B drug, cannabis, and money laundering.

Read more: No firearm found in car of London rapper shot dead by Met officers as family accuse force of being 'totally racist'

Dunn set up Onside Sports Academy, which supported footballers released from professional clubs, after hanging up her boots but was left stuck for cash after the business faltered after Covid forced the UK into a lockdown in 2020.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that this was the catalyst for Dunn becoming involved in crime.

However, police said evidence pointed to Dunn's involvement in the underworld as early as December 2019.

Dunn, operating under the username StiffNinja, sent a user called LedZeppelin an 'image of what appeared to be a tick list or accounting record' showing a total income of £1,155,548 - plus additional funds generated in Spain - on 2 April, police said.

The balance sheet also showed spending of £431,700 - including £100,000 on a house, £25,000 on cars, a £21,500 watch and items of designer clothing adding up to £1,360.

During mitigation, defending Nick Buckley requested a suspended sentence citing her involvement in charity Onside.

He said: "What the court is being asked to extend is a significant element of mercy to Ms Dunn because of the responsibility she has in caring for others. It is her responsibility that those others are being placed in this predicament.

"She acknowledges there is serious offending that underpins it. There is a balance to be struck between the individual and the system here - what is contended is the balance weighs very heavily in Ms Dunn's favour.

"She is intelligent, resourceful, kind, loving, generous and sadly flawed. She has done wrong on a large scale over a prolonged period of time.

"Her children are being supported, encouraged and their needs are being met fully by a supportive mother. One knows the damage that separation will cause those children and the difficulties they will suffer as a result."

Read more: Truss set to freeze energy bills for two years, launch dash for North Sea gas and restart fracking to tackle crisis

Sentencing, Judge David Potter said: "It is necessary at the outset to remark to you and others of the harm caused by trafficking cannabis. Cannabis can have profound, lasting effects on the brain.

"Long-term abuse can risk a user's mental health with a range of psychological problems, including paranoia and psychosis. Users can be consumed by the use of cannabis, which develops into dependence.

"Those dependent on cannabis turn themselves to crime in order to find their dependency. Many young and vulnerable people are exploited in the cannabis trade.

"The human toll is dramatic. Threats of and the use of violence are endemic in the cannabis trade.

"Recent events in this city show how innocent people can get caught in the spiral of violence of organised crime groups. Quite simply, cannabis dependency wrecks lives.

"It was into this trade that you have both willingly participated with the sole intention of significant financial reward. I accept that you are a woman of effectively good character - a highly intelligent, successful, motivated sportswoman, entrepreneur and mother of high achieving children.

Read more: 'Get the police here to arrest me': Nurse's harrowing 999 call after she stabbed her husband to death in bed

Judge Potter added: "You came to this trade as a result of the failure of your businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic. You took your considerable management skills into the trade of drugs.

"It is a tragedy to see a young woman facing a sentence of imprisonment after leading a life full of past and continuing achievements.

"You should have been thinking about your two young children when you became involved in serious organised crime."

Detective Constable Michael Steventon said: "Faye Dunn was essentially an accountant and played an integral part in laundering hundreds of thousands of pounds of money.

"Her Encrochat handle also showed that she conspired to supply 24kgs of cannabis.

"I hope this sentencing sends a strong message to perpetrators that crime doesn’t pay – we are taking action and bringing drug dealers to justice. We will continue to be relentless in our pursuit of offenders.  

"I would ask anyone who has any information about who is supplying or selling drugs in their area to contact us so we can take action."

Anyone with information is asked to DM @MerPolCC or @CrimestoppersUK anonymously on 0800 555 111.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam at protest in Westminster

Just Stop Oil founder Roger Hallam jailed for five years over M25 protests

A migrant boat was returned to France

Border Force returns migrant boat to France for first time in history after refugee dies in the Channel

Sir Geoffrey Boycott was first diagnosed with throat cancer in 2002.

Sir Geoffrey Boycott’s family issues health update as England legend undergoes cancer surgery

Liz Colfer says pension taxation misses the mark.

Why pension taxation proposals miss the mark

It follows a sharp rise in the number of abusive messages sent via the bank's app.

Santander bans swear words when sending money after abusers use 1p bank transfers to bypass restraining orders

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after the announcement of the vote at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Ursula von Der Leyen wins second term as top EU leader

Sir Ed Davey has been criticised for his time as Post Office minister

Ed Davey says sorry for taking five months to meet Alan Bates and says ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells ‘fed me lies’

The original Bacchus by Giambologna sits in the Bargello museum in Florence

Former Italian cultural minister defends woman who simulated sex with beloved Florence statue

Formal talkjs will begin next week in a bid to end long-running junior doctors strike

Government to begin formal talks with junior doctors to end long-running pay row

Jay Slater and his mum, Debbie Duncan

Jay Slater's mum appeals for funeral donations to give son the 'send-off he deserves'

File photo dated 26/07/23 of Andrew Malkinson. The Criminal Cases Review Commission has offered an 'unreserved apology' for failing Malkinson, who spent 17 years in prison for being wrongly convicted of rape. Issue date: Thursday April 18, 2024.

Wrongly imprisoned Andrew Malkinson 'could have been freed a decade earlier', watchdog finds

Taylor Swift plays to 60,000 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Police arrest suspected Taylor Swift stalker moments before concert kicks off

Pret A Manger has overhauled its coffee subscription plan

Fury as Pret scraps 'too good to be true' £30-a-month coffee subscription in favour of new scheme

Di Prima has been axed from Strictly Come Dancing amid the allegations against him.

Axed Strictly star Graziano Di Prima returns to £6 an hour job amid allegations he 'hit and kicked' dance partner Zara McDermott

British trainee barrister, 26, goes missing in Majorca after flatmate 'threatens to have men sort him out'

British trainee barrister, 26, goes missing in Majorca after flatmate 'threatens to have men sort him out'

The government 'failed its citizens', the Covid Inquiry has found

Government ‘failed its citizens’, Covid Inquiry finds as campaigners say findings are 'no surprise'