Ecstasy smuggler jailed for six years

A drug smuggler who brought ecstasy and "speed" valued at pounds 5.6m into Britain was jailed for six years yesterday.

John Moore, 23, of St Helens, Merseyside, was said by his lawyer to be "somewhat immature" and had been been sucked into the crime by others.

Judge Keith Simpson told him at Maidstone Crown Court: "I have no doubt whatsoever you were a very minor cog and insignificant figure in the hierarchy of drug trafficking. I can't imagine that anyone in their right mind would entrust you with pounds 5.5m worth of drugs."

The court was told that Moore smuggled 400,000 ecstasy tablets worth pounds 5m, and 3.64kg of 90 per cent pure amphetamine sulphate, with coach firm boss Trevor Haskayne. Haskayne, 56, of Meols, Wirral, was convicted in December of drug smuggling and jailed for 18 years.

David Fisher, for the prosecution, said Haskayne, boss of Montravel in West Kirby, Wirral, used a weekend shopping trip to the Netherlands by coach as a cover.

Moore, who admitted the charge, and his wife, 20, flew from Manchester to Amsterdam on 3 December 1994. They stayed with Haskayne's party at the Lancaster Hotel.

Passengers saw Moore walk to the coach carrying three large holdalls. During the journey to Calais, another passenger saw Haskayne give Moore pounds 80.

Haskayne put a sign on the coach saying "Dunkirk Shopper, Coach 2", even though there was only one, to enable them to pass through Customs quickly. But the bus was searched and a sniffer dog found the drugs.