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Police have warned people to stay away from a mixed martial arts champion who is on the run for a number of serious offences.
Darren Towler was found guilty of several counts of conspiracy to supply drugs in his absence at Teesside Crown Court.
Durham Police launched a manhunt after the former cage fighter failed to attend his trial on 22 March.
They are now urging people not to approach him if they see him, warning that he is a large man who is a skilled fighter.
Towler lifted the UCMMA title back in 2011 but quickly became involved in drug dealing, and was caught transporting ecstasy tablets in a Newcastle pub car park.
He was also once found in possession of cocaine and cash when officers pulled over his Citroën Berlingo after officers saw him meeting up with a man in a Toby Carvery pub in Kingston Park.
In 2016, he was sentenced to three years and three months after he was found guilty for possession of 12g of cocaine, as well as 2,000 ecstasy pills and £2,300 in cash.
He was let out on licence that same year, however.
A spokesperson for Durham Police said it's important people stay away from him.
The statement read: "Towler is described as 6ft 3ins tall and of large build.
"He is well-known in the local community having had a career as a professional MMA fighter.
"If you see him or know of his whereabouts, please do not approach him, instead call the police on 101."
Towler was also part of group that was charged in 2016 for trafficking heroin destined for the streets of Teesside.
However, during a four-week trial in November that year, he was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply heroin.
His latest trial saw Towler convicted on three counts of conspiracy to supply Class A and Class B drugs.
His co-accused – John McNaughton, 34 of Bethune Road, Middlesbrough; Anthony Thurlow, 28, of Hollyrood Court, Middlesbrough; Terrance Duffield, 42, of Clairmont Court, Thornaby; and Sean Hornsby, 48, of no fixed abode – were all found guilty of the offence.
A sentencing hearing for Towler and his co-defendants is set to take place at Teesside Crown Court on 12 and 13 May.
Anyone who may have any information about his whereabouts, is urged to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Words by Dominic Smithers
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/@DurhamPolice/Reach
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