Mo­tor­mouth smug­gler talks him­self into prison

Courier jailed af­ter £130,000 found hid­den in van bumper

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts - By Paul Hooper

Crafty courier Dar­ren Maile thought he could talk his way out of ex­plain­ing his fre­quent trips to France.

But it was the 40-year-old’s mo­tor mouth that made Bor­der Force of­fi­cers sus­pi­cious when they stopped his van at Dover’s Eastern Docks.

As Maile, from Orion Way, Willes­bor­ough, “jab­bered on” about ren­o­vat­ing an es­ca­la­tor and leav­ing his tool bag in Bel­gium, the of­fi­cers brought in a snif­fer dog, which scented more than just waf­fle.

Now Can­ter­bury Crown Court has heard why Maile was so jit­tery. Stashed in­side the bumper of his van was more than £130,000 in cash.

Pros­e­cu­tor Donna East said Maile’s ve­hi­cle was stopped at Dover, and he was quizzed about his planned trip to Bel­gium.

She said he gave an ac­count of bring­ing back parts for an es­ca­la­tor but sounded so jit­tery it made of­fi­cials sus­pi­cious.

It was then that of­fi­cers no­ticed he had made nine trips to the Con­ti­nent within a few weeks and they de­cided to call in the snif­fer dogs.

Ms East said the an­i­mal alerted its han­dlers to some­thing on the driver’s side of the bumper.

And when it was re­moved, they dis­cov­ered 30 pack­ets con­tain­ing £130,040 in ster­ling.

Ini­tially, Maile re­fused to an­swer ques­tions about the cash but later ad­mit­ted he had been in £20,000 worth of debt.

The self-em­ployed courier claimed he had met a man in a pub who of­fered him money to take the pack­ages out of the coun­try.

Judge James O’Ma­hony jailed him for 20 months, telling him that peo­ple who il­le­gally take cash out of the UK were “en­cour­ag­ing crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity”.

He told Maile, who ad­mit­ted one charge of try­ing to smug­gle crim­i­nal prop­erty out of Bri­tain, that illegal money was of­ten used to fund drug deal­ing.

“That is why it is such a se­ri­ous of­fence,” he added.

Aerial pic­ture: Si­mon Burchett

Cus­toms of­fi­cers at Dover searched Dar­ren Maile’s van af­ter notic­ing he had made nine Con­ti­nen­tal trips within a few weeks

Maile’s ‘jab­ber­ing on’ made bor­der staff sus­pi­cious

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