'easy money' | 

Lorry driver who tried to smuggle 34 kilos of cannabis into Ireland jailed

Darbyshire said that he was approached at random as he sat waiting for the ferry at Cairnryan and offered 1,000 Euros
Ricki Lee Darbyshire

Ricki Lee Darbyshire

Paul Higgins

An English lorry driver who crossed the Irish Sea with 34 kilos of cannabis worth £500,000 has been handed a 32-month sentence.

Having heard that Ricki Lee Darbyshire said he believed the 1,000 Euro he was being paid was “easy money,” Judge Neil Rafferty QC told the 38-year-old “there’s no such thing as easy money for transporting contraband if you are a professional driver.”

Ordering Wigan native Darbyshire to serve half his sentence in jail and half on licence, the judge warned that “I strongly suggest that you or any other professional driver approached in this way consider the reality of what happens….you will go to jail and will go to jail for a significant period".

At an earlier hearing Darbyshire, from the Bolton Road, Asthon-In-Makerfield in Wigan, entered fully pleas to possessing cannabis with intent to supply and possessing an offensive weapon, namely a lock knife, at Harbour Highway, Larne on March 9 last year.

The court heard on Tuesday that Darbyshire had arrived on the Cairnryan to Larne ferry when he was searched and officers from HMRC and the police uncovered the cannabis in vacuum sealed bags, stashed in boxes.

Weighing in at close to 35 kilos, it had an estimated street value of around £500,000 but arrested and questioned about it, Darbyshire admitted that he was approached at random as he sat waiting for the ferry at Cairnryan and offered 1,000 Euros.

Knowing he was carrying illegal items, Darbyshire thought it was “easy money because he had never been stopped before” but the fact he was doing it for financial gain was an aggravating feature, according to the prosecution.

Defence counsel Neil Moore highlighted that since he was remanded into custody more than a year ago Darbyshire, who has a clear record, has been completing various courses whilst in prison but that he wants to go home and back to his family.

Jailing him, Judge Rafferty told Darbyshire that by his calculations, he would have to serve another four months or so.


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