Driv­ing him­self into jail

Drug smug­gler in­jured cus­toms of­fi­cer in clumsy get­away

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

A BLUN­DER­ING drug run­ner who was caught with 60kg of cannabis wrapped in cling film hit a woman cus­toms of­fi­cer and sped away in his van, a court heard last week.

Peter Casey of Sum­mer­house Lane from Har­mondsworth was part of a ‘so­phis­ti­cated’ plot to bring cannabis resin with a street value of more than a quar­ter of a mil­lion pounds into the UK from France.

But the 45-year-old’s il­licit cargo was dis­cov­ered dur­ing a search at Newhaven, East Sus­sex, on Oc­to­ber 8, 2014.

Casey was re­turn­ing to the UK from Dieppe, France, when cus­toms of­fi­cers searched his Peu­geot van and un­cov­ered a large stash of drugs wrapped in pink cling film in a care­fully adapted part of the ve­hi­cle.

The pan­ick­ing driver man­aged to snatch back his con­fis­cated keys, jump into the ve­hi­cle and ac­cel­er­ate away – strik­ing a woman cus­toms of­fi­cer on his way and in­jur­ing her shoul­der.

As he raced away from the port the wrong way around a one-way sys­tem with the back doors hang­ing open, he drove into and dam­aged a num­ber of other cars. One valiant driver tried and failed to halt his get­away by pulling in front of him, Guild­ford Crown Court heard.

The van was dumped – and has never been re­cov­ered – and the drugs HILLING­DON Choral So­ci­ety is team­ing up with Hilling­don Phil­har­monic Orchestra for a con­cert to cel­e­brate their 30th an­niver­sary.

The con­cert en­ti­tled A Cel­e­bra­tion of Christ­mas takes place at Vyn­ers School in War­ren Road, Ick­en­ham, on Satur­day were hid­den in bushes in the area.

Casey and his three code­fen­dants were ar­rested the fol­low­ing day on the M25, but brazenly re­turned to search for the drugs and re­cover them – all while on po­lice bail.

Mark Bry­dges, 48, of Cotswold Drive, Steve­nage, Herts, was said to have planned the op­er­a­tion along with his 38-year-old friend Dean Ri­p­ley from Western Av­enue, Egham.

The other gang mem­ber was Martin Ay­lott, 43, of Waltham Av­enue, Hayes.

The four men were col­lec­tively jailed for a to­tal of 17 years and six months for the con­spir­acy to sup­ply and im­port the class B drug.

Judge Peter Moss said: “I take the view that Mr Bry­dges was the lead­ing light and Mr Ri­p­ley was his trusted se­nior of­fi­cer in this par­tic­u­lar con­spir­acy.

“I think Mr Casey knew from the out­set what he was in­volved in.

“You really fall into two De­cem­ber 12, 7.30pm.

There will be mu­sic by Vi­valdi, Han­del, Tchaikovsky and well known Christ­mas carols.

Tick­ets are £12 for adults and £3 chil­dren and can be bought on the door or from Pro Mu­sic Ick­en­ham shop in Swake­leys Road. groups – Bry­dges and Ri­p­ley in one and Ay­lott and Casey in an­other.

“From the out­set I make it plain that each of you know­ingly played into the con­spir­acy to im­port drugs.”

Archie Mackay, de­fend­ing Casey, said his client had been ‘fi­nan­cially des­per­ate’ when he made the ‘aw­ful de­ci­sion’ to smug­gling drugs in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Speak­ing af­ter the sen­tence De­tec­tive Con­sta­ble Harry Rob­berts, who was com­mended by the judge for his work in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, said: “Il­le­gal drugs have ab­so­lutely no place in our com­mu­ni­ties and can only cause crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity to thrive. I hope this re­as­sures the pub­lic that we take se­ri­ous ac­tion when it comes to those in­tent on de­stroy­ing our com­mu­ni­ties.”

n Mark Bry­dges, from Steve­nage

n Peter Casey, from Har­mondsworth

n Dean Ri­p­ley, from Egham

n Martin Ay­lott, from Hayes

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