A Thornton lorry driver caught trying to smuggle a £3m cocaine shipment into to the UK has been jailed for 16 years.
Philip Karl Green, 45, of Rydal Avenue, Thornton, was stopped by Border Force officers at Immingham dock as he arrived on a ferry from Esbjerg in Denmark on 25 April 2015.
Concealed under the bunk bed in his cab were around 30 tape-wrapped packages. Forensic analysis showed each contained a kilo of cocaine, between 50 and 60 per cent pure.
In interviews with National Crime Agency officers Green refused to answer any questions. He later claimed that he had been under duress to carry the drugs.
But NCA investigators found evidence to show his motivation was greed. Just three weeks before the seizure Green’s wife had booked a £7,000 holiday in Mexico.
He had also previously been stopped by the authorities at Dover in 2011, where 4.5 million cigarettes had been seized from his truck. Green had been arrested but never charged.
Yesterday, following a four day trial at Grimsby Crown Court a jury found him guilty of importing class A drugs. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
Mick Maloney, head of the NCA’s North East Border Investigation team, said: “The drugs seized here had a wholesale value to organised crime of around £1.25 million, but when cut and sold at street value they would have been worth more than £3 million. I’m certain that profit would have been reinvested in further criminality.
“This operation again shows how criminal networks try to exploit legitimate trade and transport routes to evade border controls. But working with our law enforcement partners we are determined to stop that happening and protect the public.”
Mark Robinson, Assistant Director of Border Force Yorkshire & Humber, said: “Cocaine is a destructive drug which damages communities and ruins the lives of users. By preventing this smuggling attempt Border Force stopped a significant amount of harmful substances reaching the UK’s streets.
“Our officers are on constant alert to keep illegal drugs out of the country. We work closely with the National Crime Agency to ensure those behind drug smuggling are caught and convicted.”