Four men have been jailed for a total of more than 17 years after importing more than 60kg of cannabis resin, worth a potential £263k, into the country via Newhaven.
An investigation by Surrey Police’s Serious Organised Crime Unit saw the four men sentenced at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (November 26) following a trial at the same court.
Dean Ripley, 38, of Western Avenue, Egham was found guilty of conspiracy to import. He also pleaded guilty to production of cannabis and was sentenced to 55 months.
Peter Casey, 45, of Summerhouse Lane, Harmondsworth, Middlesex was found guilty of conspiracy to import. He had also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving; obstructing Border Force Officers and assaulting a Border Force Officer and was sentenced to 55 months.
Martin Aylott, 43, previously of Waltham Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex was found guilty of conspiracy to supply and was sentenced to 50 months.
Mark Brydges, 48, of Cotswold Drive, Stevenage pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply sentenced to 50 months.
A fifth male was found not guilty of conspiracy to supply.
On October 17 2014 Surrey Police officers stopped a vehicle in Hayes being driven by Brydges, which was found to contain the imported drugs.
The investigation was able to implicate the four men through detailed enquiries and analysis of material which included CCTV footage and ANPR. The consignment of drugs was imported into the country by Casey at Newhaven on October 8 2014.
While coming through customs having arrived on a ferry from Dieppe in France, his Peugeot van was subjected to a search during which UK Border Agency staff found what they believed to be drugs wrapped in pink clingfilm.
During the search, the keys were removed, but Casey, who was out of the van, took them back before speeding off – injuring a member of staff in the process.
As he left the port, he hit other vehicles and went the wrong way round a one-way system, all the time with the back doors of the van swinging open.
The van was last seen in the area of Western Road, Newhaven later that day, which is where officers later discovered just under a kilo of cannabis resin that had been hidden under a bush.
It transpired that Casey, Brydges, Aylott and Ripley went back to the Newhaven area to look for the drugs that same night.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Harry Robberts said: “Illegal drugs have absolutely no place in our communities and only can only cause criminal activity to thrive.
“There are many direct and indirect causes of drug dealing with drug users putting themselves at harm and also often committing crime as a result of their habit.
“I hope this reassures the public that we take serious action when it comes to those intent on destroying our communities and gives the public the confidence to report any suspicious activity to us so that we can deal with it appropriately.”
Help and advice on drug use and abuse can be found by visiting http://www.talktofrank.com/ or if you would like to speak with your local neighbourhood team about drugs dealing in your area please visit the Surrey Police website at http://www.surrey.police.uk/.
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