This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 19 September, 2019
Advertisement

Men jailed for importing almost £50 million worth of drugs into the UK

The pair were involved in the importation of cannabis and a drug used to treat insomnia.

Gareth Attard (left) and Simon Coombes
Gareth Attard (left) and Simon Coombes
Image: Met Police

TWO MEN INVOLVED in the importation of almost £50 million (€57 million) worth of drugs into the UK have been jailed.

The pair were sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown on Friday for their part in the importation of cannabis and a drug used to treat insomnia.

It is estimated that, throughout the course of their conspiracy, the men imported drugs with a total street value between £38 million (about €43 million) and £49 million (€55.5 million).

Simon Coombes (48) from Kent in England was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment and Gareth Attard (43) from Cardiff in Wales was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Coombes was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and one count of conspiracy to supply Class C drugs and Attard was convicted of one count of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs and one count of conspiracy to supply Class C drugs following a three-day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

The pair were jailed as a result of an intelligence-led investigation carried out by the Met’s Specialist Crime Command.

Between April 2015 and September 2016 Coombes and Attard facilitated 14 importations of cannabis and Zopiclone tablets to a car garage in Sittingbourne, Kent.

Tomatoes and spare vehicle parts 

The pair used a range of methods to conceal the drugs as they entered the UK including disguising them in crates marked as spare parts for vehicles. They also concealed cannabis within tins of tomatoes being transported on HGVs.

On 29 January 2017, officers from UK Border Force conducted a routine stop of a HGV entering Dover. During a search of the vehicle 90kg of cannabis was found concealed within tins of tomatoes. Throughout the course of the investigation detectives obtained a range of evidence which linked both Coombes and Attard to this concealment.

On 22 September 2017, officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command observed six crates being delivered to the garage in Sittingbourne.

The next day, officers from Kent Police executed a search warrant at the address on behalf of the Met. Officers discovered 1,021kg of cannabis and 130,000 Zopiclone tablets within the crates.

Coombes and Attard were not present at the address at the time of the search warrant but were arrested at a later date.

It is estimated that approximately six-and-a-half tonnes of cannabis were imported to the address in Sittingbourne. Throughout the course of the investigation detectives recovered a total of 1,120kg of cannabis.

Detective Superintendent Neil Ballard from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: “I am satisfied with the sentences handed to these two men for their part in the importation of drugs into the UK. This operation clearly demonstrates the Met’s commitment to tackling organised criminals who seek to profit from the misery inflicted by the distribution of drugs.

“This was a complex investigation and demonstrates our dedication in reducing the supply of drugs and removing the danger these substances pose on the streets.

“These men are now beginning lengthy custodial sentences and I would like to thank our Kent Police colleagues for their collaboration in this very successful operation.”

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Órla Ryan

Read next:

COMMENTS (11)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel