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Man jailed over botched drugs plot has prison sentence increased

An Ilkley man caged for his part in a £160 million cocaine smuggling plot has had his jail term nearly doubled after senior judges said it was far too soft.

James Andrew Hill, of Hampshire Close, Ben Rhydding, now faces 11 years behind bars for his involvement in the enormous conspiracy.

The Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC, successfully attacked his original six-year sentence as 'unduly lenient'. The 31-year-old was jailed at Leeds Crown Court on September 18 last year after being convicted of the smuggling plot.

Lord Justice Treacy told London's Appeal Court that the conspiracy involved 1,025 kilograms of high-purity cocaine.

The Makayabella yacht which had travelled from Venezuela to the Irish coast was intercepted by the Irish navy in September 2014. There were 41 packages of the class A drug inside the vessel, with a street value of £160 million.

Lawyers for the Solicitor General argued Hill's sentence gave 'insufficient weight' to the public menace posed by hard drugs.

Hill's legal team agreed his sentence was 'low' but argued that it was not 'so much out of the ordinary' to justify an increase.

Lord Justice Treacy said it was 'clearly a sophisticated conspiracy' and that Hill was 'motivated by financial advantage to himself'.

We consider a significant increase in his sentence is called for to reflect the massive quantity of drugs involved. We consider that the least sentence which should have been imposed was one of 11 years.

– Lord Justice Treacy

Bradford Council to consider moor burning ban

Bradford Council will tonight consider whether to ban burning of heather on Ilkley Moor for the purposes of grouse shooting.

Credit: Press Association

The decision is part of wider discussions about the management of the public moor - which is the last in the country where grouse shooting is still allowed.

Campaigners wanting an end to grouse shooting in Ilkley Moor staged a protest in Bradford last month.

The burning of heather at Ilkley Moor is to increase grouse population for recreational shooting.


Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette give the low down on filming their latest blockbuster in Yorkshire

Yorkshire is often used as a backdrop for many films but it's not often that we attract Hollywood A-Listers. Drew Barrymoore and Toni Collete have been filming in Ilkley and Haworth for their film 'Miss You Already' which tells the story of two best friends whose lives are tested. To get all the low down on how Ilkley compares to LA we sent Daniel Harris to chat to the stars.

Fifth person charged over botched drugs plot

A man from Ilkley is the fifth person to be charged in Britain over an international cocaine bust off Ireland last year.

James Andrew Hill, 30, was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) at his home in Hampshire Close, Ilkley, on Tuesday over the Makayabella sting.

The luxury yacht was intercepted after crossing the Atlantic from Caribbean waters with about a tonne of cocaine on board worth about £160m.

Hill was charged with conspiring to import Class A drugs and was remanded in custody following an appearance at Wakefield Magistrates' Court, the NCA said.

He is due before Leeds Crown Court on July 15.

The Makayabella was intercepted in poor conditions by Irish authorities 200 miles off the south-west coast of Ireland last September.


Ilkley Lido reopens with a splash

Thousands of bathers are expected to make a splash at Ikley Lido over the summer after it reopened this Bank Holiday weekend.

Voted one of the top ten open air pools in the country, the Lido celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and will be open every day until the end of summer.

Chris Lamb, a lifeguard at the pool, says they are expecting more than 140,000 people:

Pensioner's body recovered from river in Ilkley

The body of an 89-year-old woman has been recovered from a river in Ilkley.

A walker raised the alarm at about 8.30 yesterday morning after making the discovery in the River Wharfe.

A walker raised the alarm at about 8.30 yesterday morning after making the discovery in the River Wharfe.

Police have confirmed that the pensioner was from Ilkley but have yet to release her identity. The circumstances surrounding her death remain unclear but it's not being treated as suspicious. The Coroner's office has been informed and an inquest will be held at a future date.

Three further arrests in yacht drugs probe

Three men have been arrested in West Yorkshire as part of Operation AFTERMAST, the ongoing NCA investigation following the seizure of around a tonne of cocaine from the yacht Makayabella by the Irish authorities in September 2014.

The men, aged 31, 29 and 27, were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs at two addresses in Ilkley and one in Leeds on Tuesday 28 April. The warrants were executed with assistance from West Yorkshire Police.

All three were questioned and have been bailed pending further enquiries until 28 August.

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