Motormouth smuggler talks himself into prison
Courier jailed after £130,000 found hidden in van bumper
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.
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