Skelmersdale men jailed for crossing North Sea on JetSki with £200,000 of cocaine

Credit: Suffolk Police

Two men have been jailed after their attempt to cross the North Sea on a jet ski with £200,000 of cocaine in a backpack ended in a rescue operation when they ran out of fuel.

Steven Brogan, 36, and 34-year-old Anthony Reilly, both of Skelmersdale in Lancashire, took the jet ski from the Lowestoft area of Suffolk to a pick-up point in the Netherlands to collect the drugs, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Broagan was jailed for seven years and six months, whilst Reilly was jailed for seven years.

Prosecutor Hugh Vass said that on the return journey on September 30 last year, the pair approached a survey vessel and "asked the crew for some fuel - that request was refused".

"At one point they were pitched into the sea," said Mr Vass, adding that one man was showing signs of hypothermia and the other of exhaustion.

He said that the Lowestoft RNLI Lifeboat and the HM Coastguard helicopter from Hull helped rescue the men, who were airlifted to hospital in Gorleston in Norfolk.

Crew from the helicopter alerted police after becoming suspicious of the men's behaviour and they were arrested on arrival, Mr Vass said.

He said that Brogan claimed to officers that he had been "fishing by jet ski but ran into difficulty when they ran out of fuel".

He said officers found the men had two kilos of cocaine in a backpack, valued at up to £200,000.

Brogan's van and trailer were located and found to contain maps of the North Sea, a pick-up point in the Netherlands, tide timetables, a mobile phone and diving equipment, Mr Vass said, adding that the jet ski was registered to Brogan.

Both men admitted to importing class A drugs.

Defence lawyers for the two men said that they became involved in the incident after running into financial difficulties.