Drug Smugglers Jailed After Jet Ski Runs Out Of Fuel Crossing North Sea
Two drug smugglers, who were caught crossing the North Sea after their jet ski ran out of fuel, have been jailed.
Steven Brogan and Anthony Reilly, from Lancashire, had been transporting cocaine from the Netherlands to Suffolk when they needed rescuing on 30 September 2020.
After breaking down at around 7pm, the pair approached another vessel, asking them if they had any fuel. The crew sent out a mayday signal and the HM Coastguard as well as volunteers from Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat 'Patsy Knight' attended the scene.
Brogan, 36, and Reilly, 34, were then airlifted to safety by the HM Coastguard helicopter and transported to the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.
Police seized two packages of class A drugs with a potential street level value of between £160,000 - £200,000, from the men.
They were charged with importing class A drugs, pleading guilty during a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Tuesday (16 February).
Brogan was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison, while Reilly was handed a seven-year sentence.
Passing judgement, Recorder Richard Christie QC said it was clearly a 'sophisticated enterprise'.
He said: "There was potentially a visit to the Suffolk area from the north west of England on an earlier occasion to at least recce the situation.
"At the time of this offence a jet ski was taken by you both across the sea to Holland.
"A package of two kilos of cocaine was collected and in what could be described as a daring enterprise you sought to come back across the sea with a jet ski.
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"It was only because of the weather that things went badly wrong for you and you were very fortunate to be picked up and at public expense taken to hospital."
In mitigation, Mark Stevens, for Brogan, said his client was a trained boxer and in need of money.
He said: "He lost out on a fight, he had no money coming in, he was asked to do this and foolishly agreed."
Stephen Mather, acting for Reilly, told the court that his client, a plumber by trade, had been struggling to make ends meet due to lockdown.
Reilly told the court that it was a 'lifechanging mistake'.
Detective Inspector Matt Adams of East CID, Suffolk Constabulary, added: "These men acted recklessly and put their lives at risk by crossing the channel to Holland on a jet ski to import class A drugs into Suffolk.
"This incident shows the incredibly dangerous lengths that those involved in the supply of drugs will go to in order to sustain their trade.
"Our compelling evidence and the swift multi-agency response involving Suffolk Constabulary, Border Force, HM Coastguard and the RNLI has resulted in bringing this case before the court and seeing those responsible being brought to justice.
"We hope that this sentence will act as a deterrent to criminals trying to bring drugs into our county."
A Proceeds of Crime Act hearing is set to take place at a later date.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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