Men hid cocaine and cannabis in machinery to smuggle through Scotland

Three men have been jailed for smuggling cocaine and cannabis through Scotland.

David Brown, 51, and Patrick Hattie, 52, were both found guilty of being involved in the drugs operation after a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

At the High Court in Glasgow on Tuesday, they were sentenced to a total of 12 years.

Lawrence Phee, 50, pled guilty last year and was jailed for 8 years and 6 months in December. His plea and sentence could not be reported until Brown and Hattie’s trial finished.

Phee directed the operation from North Lanarkshire, bringing drugs from Spain to Scotland hidden in machinery. Between November 2017 and December 2018, he organised around 15 shipments.

One of those shipments was transported by David Brown, who was stopped at Cairnryan ferry terminal on 1 December 2018 where his van was searched. Inside the fuel tank he was transporting, officers found four kilos of cocaine, 23 kilos of herbal cannabis and more than 5000 bars of cannabis resin, worth around £1.8m in the UK and over three million Euros in Ireland.

All three men had been involved in arranging the shipment; Phee had hired the van, Hattie had paid for it and used his business insurance to cover the hire, and Brown was the named driver.

The fuel tank had been delivered to Hattie’s business premises in Shotts under the false company name ‘Kelly’s Compressors’, the same company name used to transport it to Ireland.

Jennifer Harrower, procurator fiscal for specialist casework, said: "This was an extensive operation that brought significant quantities of illegal and harmful drugs into and through Scotland.

"Phee and his associates tried to conceal their crimes but were ultimately foiled thanks to co-operation between law enforcement agencies and COPFS.

"Drugs do great harm to communities across Scotland and we will continue to work as a key part of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce to protect those communities."

Proceeds of Crime action has started against Phee.