Former owner of a gym in Shefford jailed over involvement in steroids conspiracy
PUBLISHED: 14:37 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:57 25 July 2018
The former owner of a gym in Shefford has been jailed for more than three years over his part in a multi-million-pound anabolic steroids conspiracy.
Christopher Kirkby, of Angle Green in Shefford, was sentenced to 40 months behind bars when he appeared before Judge Huw Rees at Caernarfon Crown Court in Wales on Friday.
Kirkby was found guilty by a jury of producing and conspiring to supply a class-C drug between May 1, 2013, and December 2, 2016. The raw materials were imported from the Far East, and the illegal products were sold worldwide.
The 30-year-old personal trainer used to own and run Kirkby’s Gym, in Saint Francis Way on Shefford’s industrial estate.
Det Con Ian Millington from St Asaph CID, who was an investigating officer in the case, said: “This has been a complex and protracted investigation spanning more than three years, and involving search warrants executed across several locations – culminating in the sentencing of these defendants.
“This was a multi-million-pound criminal enterprise where steroids were sold in the UK and worldwide, having been manufactured using raw products imported from Hong Kong and mainland China.
“The imports of the raw products and manufacturing equipment was often disguised as food products and food-related equipment.
“The steroids were generally sold using a professionally set up website, giving customers the impression the drugs were produced in sterile laboratory conditions.
“This could not have been further from the truth.
“The laboratory, when found, was in a dirty and dusty outbuilding at some of the defendants’ address.
“While Steroids are classed as class-C drugs, there are well recognised and documented side effects associated with their use – which is why those involved must realise there is a consequence to their actions.”
Kirkby was one of 10 men and five women to stand trial in the case – with co-defendants from across England and Wales. Two further defendants in the same case pleaded guilty.
Kirkby officially ceased to be a director of Kirkby’s Gym Ltd on July 5. On the same date he ceased to be a person with significant control, according to Companies House papers.