The trial of an alleged cocaine kingpin has collapsed.

Jurors had to be discharged for legal reasons on the second day of the trial of Simon Rooney, 38, at Oxford Crown Court.

Rooney, of Fairfield Drive, Burnley, is accused of using the heavily-encrypted Encrochat phone network to arrange high-value deals with other suppliers.

Prosecutors allege he imported 336kgs of cutting agent tetramisole from China in 2020 to produce bulked-out cocaine worth an estimated £47m.

He is also said to have supplied a large amount of amphetamine, seized during a police raid on the Manor Park traveller site in Kidlington.

On Wednesday (February 15), Judge Ian Pringle KC granted the defendant conditional bail to return to the Oxford court on March 3, when a new trial date will be fixed.

Rooney denies conspiracy to acquire and supply cutting agents for class A and B drugs, being concerned in the supply of cocaine, conspiracy to supply mephedrone, and supplying amphetamines.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

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