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Courier caught with £720,000 drugs haul jailed

Carlisle Crown Court Photo: ITV Border

A drugs courier caught on the M6 near Carlisle with an illegal cargo worth £719,000 has been jailed for three years.

Police stopped John Read's uninsured Vauxhall on the northbound carriageway of the motorway near the city at around 11-20am on July 16.

When told the vehicle would be seized, 51-year-old Read was asked whether there was anything inside that officers should be aware of. He replied: "In the boot."

Police recovered almost 24kg of cannabis resin, with a street value of £119,000, and a massive 60kg of amphetamine. This, Carlisle Crown Court heard, was potentially worth around £600,000.

Read admitted possessing both class B drugs with intent to supply, having taken on a one-off illegal trip as a courier for which he would have been paid £1,000. He also admitted driving without insurance.

His life was said to have "spiralled out of control" following the death of his son, and he had since accrued multiple debts after turning to alcohol.

Read, of Bellmore Street, Garston, Liverpool, was described as a "well-loved man" for whom supportive references had been submitted for the sentencing hearing.

Judge Peter Davies imposed a three-year jail term, calling the amount of amphetamine "colossal".

Speaking of Read's position as a criminal courier, Judge Davies said: "That is a trusted role. It is an important role. It is not a role under coercion.

"You knew what you were doing."