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Ex-police employee caught leaking information about Operation Venetic is jailed


A police employee who leaked sensitive information about a covert investigation into organised crime has been jailed.

Natalie Mottram custody image
Natalie Mottram

Natalie Mottram, 25, tipped off a friend about Operation Venetic – a National Crime Agency-led investigation into the UK takedown of the encrypted communications platform EncroChat.

As well as passing details about Operation Venetic to Jonathan Kay, 39, Mottram also informed Kay that officers had information relating to him following unauthorised checks on police systems.

Mottram told Kay that that law enforcement agencies were able to access the encrypted data of the Encrochat communications service.

Kay then passed this information to a friend who was an Encrochat user. On 24 April 2020, this same friend of Kay’s messaged another EncroChat user to relay the news.

After suspecting Mottram of being responsible for the leak, National Crime Agency (NCA) investigators asked Mottram to analyse a bogus intelligence log referring to Kay.

Under surveillance, she then drove to the home of Kay and his partner – who Mottram was close friends with – in Great Sankey, Warrington, on 12 June 2020.

Jonathan Kay
Jonathan Kay

The prosecution say this is when she corruptly told Kay about the false log.

Mottram was employed by Cheshire Police, but at the time of the offences was on secondment at the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) as an intelligence analyst.

On August 18, 2023, at Liverpool Crown Court, she admitted misconduct in public office, perverting the course of justice and unauthorised access to computer material.

Kay previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice on 9 June 2023.

Today at Liverpool Crown Court, Mottram was jailed for three years and nine months, while Kay received two years and six months' imprisonment.

Rosemary Ainslie, Head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said: “Mottram’s corrupt actions were a gross breach of trust and had the potential to be hugely damaging to a very important and large-scale investigation into EncroChat and organised crime.

“Operation Venetic is one of the most significant investigations in history of targeting serious and organised criminals - and has seen remarkable success.

“As part of her role, Mottram had access to sensitive intelligence, and she abused her position by disclosing key information about Operation Venetic to Kay.

“It is clear she displayed a flagrant disregard to policies around handling sensitive information and fell well below the standard expected of a police employee.

“The CPS will always work hard to prosecute this kind of corruption so that the public can have full confidence in the criminal justice system.”

Notes to editors

  • Natalie Mottram, (DOB: 01/10/98), is of Warrington, Cheshire.
  • Jonathan Kay, [DOB: 01/09/1984), is of Warrington, Cheshire.
  • The prosecution offered no evidence against another woman for a charge of perverting the course of justice.
  • Under Operation Venetic so far, across UK law enforcement, 3,147 suspects have been arrested and 1,240 offenders have been convicted.  
  • The CPS Special Crime Division deals with the most complex and sensitive cases in England and Wales including disasters, serious criminal allegations against police officers, corporate manslaughter and election offences.

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