Police show digitally-aged mugshots of gangster twins who were jailed for a total of 50 years

·4-min read
A billboard showing crime boss Leon Cullen's current mugshot and how he might look at the end of his prison sentence. (Reach)
A billboard showing crime boss Leon Cullen's current mugshot and how he might look at the end of his prison sentence. (Reach)

Police have displayed digitally aged mugshots of a pair of gangster twins to show how old they will look when they finish their combined 50 years in prison.

Cheshire Police put images of criminal brothers Leon and Anthony Cullen, 33, on a giant billboard and toured it around Warrington in a van.

The force used digital technology to age the pair, then printed the mock-up photos next to their current mugshots.

Read more: Town gets post 13 years late after it's found at dead Royal Mail worker's home

The billboard was driven around the Cheshire town on Saturday as a warning to others about the impact of choosing a life of crime.

Leon Cullen, the head of a firearms and cocaine network who fled the country before being captured in Dubai, was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court last Friday to 22 years and six months in prison.

He had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply firearms, conspiracy to possess ammunition and conspiracy to supply cocaine.

Brothers Leon, left, and Anthony Cullen, right, were jailed for a total of 50 years. (Reach)
Brothers Leon, left, and Anthony Cullen, right, were jailed for a total of 50 years. (Reach)
Cheshire Police used digital technology to artificially age criminals Leon Cullen, left, and Anthony Cullen, right. (Cheshire Police)
Cheshire Police used digital technology to artificially age criminals Leon Cullen, left, and Anthony Cullen, right. (Cheshire Police)

He ran the criminal operation with his brother, Anthony, who was jailed in 2019 for 27 years. Anthony was jailed along with 19 associates for a total of 185 years.

Leon Cullen was extradited from the United Arab Emirates and returned to the UK in February after fleeing the country in January 2018 using a false passport.

The brothers’ criminal enterprise supplied cocaine and guns to other crime gangs in the north west of England.

Detectives believe more than 50kg of cocaine was supplied to dealers in Cheshire, Bangor in Wales and the North East between June 2016 and January 2018.

The twins used a front business, Future Press Ltd, to launder money from their drugs network.

Police said the brothers used violence to intimidate those they believed had crossed them as well as to enforce debts.

The court heard Cullen was in control of an arsenal of guns, including a functioning AK-series rifle, a pump-action shotgun, automatic pistols and revolvers, as well as a silencer that was fitted to one of the automatic handguns.

One of the guns, a 9mm self-loading pistol, was used in a shooting in August 2015 at a house in Liverpool, when a round was fired into the living room while the occupant was present.

Police also seized a total of £205,680 in cash and 2.25kg of cocaine during a series of raids as part of an 18-month covert investigation.

After he was sentenced, via video link to Manchester Prison, Cullen said: "Yeah, no problem, thank you." 

He was still addressing the judge when the video link was cut.

Judge Gary Woodhall told Cullen: "You, together with your brother, were the heads of an organised crime group.

More than £205,000 in cash was uncovered by police after a raid in Warrington. (Reach)
More than £205,000 in cash was uncovered by police after a raid in Warrington. (Reach)

"Your business was the supply of wholesale quantities of high purity cocaine and dealings with weapons, including a lethal caché of firearms.

"This was a sophisticated, well planned, well prepared, successful, persistent criminal operation.

"Your drug dealing shows complete disregard for the impact on our society.”

Read more: Shocking video shows youths trying to lift level crossing barrier

Detective Chief Inspector Mike Evans, from Cheshire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “Leon operated a network that was widespread and included the supply of cocaine and firearms to other organised crime groups across the North West.

“Leon was the leader of the organised crime group alongside his brother Anthony but we know there are still people in the community who are close to him and are continuing his criminality.

“My message to those people is we will come for you. We will take the same action that we have taken against Leon and Anthony because we are determined to make Cheshire really hostile for those involved in organised crime and we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve that.”

Watch: 6,000 migrants in desperate swim from Morocco to Spain

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting