An international drug dealer previously described as 'Norfolk's most wanted man' has been jailed for 10 years.

Benjamin Macann, from Beetley, near Dereham, was on the run for almost two years before he was arrested in a shopping mall car park in Bulgaria.

The 34-year-old was wanted by detectives investigating a sophisticated drugs operation which brought large amounts of cocaine into Norfolk.

Eastern Daily Press: Benjamin Macann has been jailed for 10 yearsBenjamin Macann has been jailed for 10 years (Image: Norfolk Police)

He left the UK in 2020, triggering an international manhunt which initially centred on Barcelona, where he was known to have links.

In 2022, he was included in a 'most wanted' campaign which featured 12 fugitives believed to be hiding in Spain and the Canary Islands.

Months later, he was found more than 1,000 miles away, in the city of Plovdiv, in southern Bulgaria.

He was flown back to the UK and taken to Norwich Magistrates Court where he was remanded into custody.

Eastern Daily Press: Macann was arrested in Plovdiv, BulgariaMacann was arrested in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (Image: Adam Jones)

He appeared at Norwich Crown Court today (November 17) for sentencing having previously admitted to the supply of cocaine between April 1, 2020 and January 15, 2021.

The court was told that he used the now-defunct messaging service EncroChat, which was used primarily by organised crime gangs.

READ MORE: Alleged Russian spy from Great Yarmouth will face trial

The service was dismantled in 2020, following a massive international law enforcement campaign, giving police breakthroughs in many complex drug investigations.

Messages retrieved by officers investigating Macann - who has strong family connections to Dereham and Norwich - revealed how he used the service to organise cocaine deals, negotiating prices using the code names Wornfire and Tidyfly.

Eastern Daily Press: Macann shared pictures of cocaine blocks in messages recovered by investigatorsMacann shared pictures of cocaine blocks in messages recovered by investigators (Image: Norfolk Police)

The communications revealed several instances where he collected large sums of money from various locations across Norfolk, including a drop in Blofield said to be worth £155,000.

He also shared pictures of cocaine blocks which featured an identifiable stamp.

The manhunt searching for Macann involved the National Crime Agency, Bulgarian police and Spanish Guardia Civil.

When he was finally arrested, he was found with a fake passport as well as a genuine one in someone else's name. 

His co-accused Dean Enifer and Peter McKenna were arrested in January 2021.

Enifer was jailed for eight years and three months and McKenna was jailed for seven years and 10 months in August 2021.

Macann was jailed for 10 years.

Eastern Daily Press: Macann sent an image of cash which he claimed amounted to £75,000 in a message sent on EncroChatMacann sent an image of cash which he claimed amounted to £75,000 in a message sent on EncroChat (Image: Norfolk Police)Det Sgt Eddie Hammond, from the Norfolk and Suffolk Serious Organised Crime Unit, said: “Macann played a major role in an organised crime group responsible for the purchase, collection, and delivery of commercial quantities of cocaine into Norfolk.

"He left the UK and made significant attempts to evade arrest from the authorities but was tracked down and bought back to face justice by some excellent work carried out by members of the Norfolk and Suffolk Serious and Organised Crime Unit and law enforcement partners.

"When located and arrested in Bulgaria he was in possession of a false passport and driving licence.

"The illicit supply of Class A Drugs ruins lives - Norfolk and Suffolk Police will always pursue offenders who are involved in the supplying and selling of drugs, take action, and bring them before the courts."