Harwich Drug Smugglers Jailed

31 January 2011, 16:31 | Updated: 16 February 2011, 10:52

Three men, who tried to bring in 2 and a half million pounds worth of cannabis into the Port of Harwich, have been jailed for a total of 27 and a half years.

The drugs were found hidden on a trailer that arrived on the ferry from the Hook of Holland in May 2010.

UK Border Agency officers using drilling equipment found that four pallets of concrete slabs had been hollowed out to conceal packages of cannabis resin. The estimated total weight of the drugs was 800kg.

Joseph Buckley, 33, from John Mace Road in Colchester, and 46-year-old Michael Winnitt from Birmingham, have been found guilty at Ipswich Crown Court today (31 January) after an eight day trial.

31-year-old Carl Fithon from Colchester had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to charges of cannabis importation and cultivation.

Buckley had also previously pleaded guilty to a charge of cannabis cultivation.

Buckley has been jailed for 11 years, Winnitt nine and Fithon seven and a half.

Malcolm Bragg, Assistant Director UK Border Agency Crime Directorate, said: "These three men were all heavily involved in the drugs trade - they were not bit part players.

This was the biggest seizure of cannabis made at Harwich in 2010 and I am delighted that we have brought the criminals responsible to justice."