Drug-Smuggling Pensioner Jailed

A pensioner from Dorset who admitted smuggling 30 kilos of cannabis powder into the UK via Portsmouth ferry port has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Robert Coulson, 71, of Anning Road, Lyme Regis, was arrested by Border Force officers shortly after arriving on a ferry from Caen on 3 November 2012.

He pleaded guilty to drug smuggling charges at Portsmouth Magistrates' Court on Friday 4 January and was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court today (25 January).

The court heard when his car was stopped and searched on his arrival at Portsmouth, Coulson told officers he spends three months of the winter in Morocco because of his arthritis and was returning to the UK for a medical appointment.

Shortly afterwards officers found a quantity of powder hidden inside four tyre inner tubes in the car's spare wheel compartment. This was tested and found to be cannabis.

When asked what the powder was Coulson said: "It's hash."

During an interview under caution Coulson admitted that the cannabis had been bought on credit in Morocco and that he intended to sell it in the UK.

Tim Fleming, from Border Force, said:

"This is another example of our officers being one step ahead of the game when it comes to protecting our border from drugs and other prohibited items.

"Coulson gambled that he would evade our controls but has ended up paying the price with the sentence handed down by the court today.

"We are determined to prevent the drugs trade which can have such a destructive impact on the lives of so many."

cannabis hidden in tyre

cannabis hidden in tyre

Anyone who has information on suspected smuggling or immigration offences can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/ or call the Border Force hotline on 0800 59 5000.