£200,000 worth of drugs found in drug runner's car


Staff reporter (Leader Live)

A DRUG-runner bringing amphetamine with an estimated street value of more than £200,000 into North Wales has been jailed

A drugs package was discovered by police in a hidden compartment in a Land Rover stopped on the A55 in Flintshire.

The vehicle was bring driven by courier Paul Andrew Leadbetter, who was ferrying the drugs from Liverpool to Anglesey.

At the time Leadbetter, 32, lived in Pentraeth, Anglesey, was struggling financially as a tree cutter and agreed to pick up the drugs for £100, it was claimed at Mold Crown Court.

He said that while he knew the package was suspicious, he did now know it contained drugs.

But Judge Rhys Rowlands, who jailed him for 16 months, said that he did not accept that.

Leadbetter had been very nervous when stopped by police and he had placed the package in a hidden compartment under the passenger seat.

A plate had to be removed to recover the drugs, he said.

Leadbetter, who has since moved with his wife and two small children to his parents’ home in Southport, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing the drugs with intent to supply at a preliminary stage.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said a large amount of high purity drugs were being brought into North Wales from the North West, which was clearly a serious matter.

Prosecuting barrister Kate Meredith-Jones told how, on May 2, police received information that Leadbetter’s green Land Rover had been seen acting suspiciously in the Merseyside area.

Leadbetter was living in Anglesey at the time and at 7.30pm that evening officers stopped the vehicle as he drove home along the A55 at Junction 32 near Pentre Halkyn.

He was arrested and the Land Rover was taken to Mold Police Station where it was searched and a bag was found under the passenger seat, inside of which were two plastic bags containing white powder.

It was forensically analysed and was found to be 3.89kg of amphetamine, which was 66 per cent pure.

If further adulterated down to the purity of street deals, then the maximum potential street value would be £202,700, Miss Meredith-Jones said.

Interviewed, he said that he lived with his fiancee and two children aged one and two, he worked cutting trees and was struggling financially and in debt.

He told how he received a phone call from a friend asking him to collect a package from Liverpool.

Initially he refused but later agreed to do so, but understood that the request was not from his friend but from “a suspicious male on Anglesey”.

Leadbetter told how he drove to Liverpool, was given a post code to attend an address by an unknown male and when he arrived a blonde woman got into the vehicle and gave him the package which he placed under the passenger seat.

He had done it because he was short of money and would have made about £100.

David Kilty, defending, said his client was extremely remorseful and had written a short letter himself to the judge.

His role was limited, he had no influence on those above him, and he only resorted to such drastic action because he was short of work and money.

He had since moved from Anglesey to the home of his parents.

Judge Rowlands said that Leadbetter had pleaded guilty at a preliminary stage which was important to reduce the sentence.

“That said, you know the amount of amphetamine here makes it a very serious offence.

“You collected it from Liverpool, it was a high purity of 66 per cent which would be further adulterated and then sold on the street of North West Wales.”

The average purity of a street deal was seven per cent.

Leadbetter knew what he was doing and would now have to face the consequences, he said.

He was clearly trusted by those higher up the chain.

“You knew what would happen if you were caught. It was a risk you were prepared to take,” Judge Rowlands said.

He was playing a role in a commercial venture which would create huge profits, not for him but for others.

There was far too much amphetamine for the sentence to be suspended.

If he had been convicted after a trial then he would have been jailed for two years but he would receive the full one third credit for his guilty plea.

The judge ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.

See full story in the Leader

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