Cocaine worth £300k found under spare wheel of hire car on M5

Charles Harvey jailed
Charles Harvey, 25, has been jailed for four years. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police.

A drugs trafficker who was caught with £300,000 of high-purity cocaine hidden in the spare wheel of a hired Mercedes has been jailed.

Charles Harvey, 25, of St Marychurch Road in Torquay, was sentenced to four years in prison at Exeter Crown Court after admitting possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply.

Police swooped on Charles Harvey after an eagle-eyed off duty police officer spotted a bundle of cash in the car's glovebox while it was parked at a Torquay supermarket.

The car was stopped on the M5 near Exeter the following day and around 3kg of cocaine was found stashed in the boot.

Exeter Crown Court heard Harvey was stopped on the motorway on June 26, 2019 while returning to Devon following a trip to the West Midlands.

The car was stopped on the M5 and over 3kg of cocaine was found underneath the spare wheel in the boot.

He had initially told police he had been on a shopping trip with a friend and refused to comment as to why he was found with an encrypted mobile phone.

A review of phone and ANPR data showed Harvey had made at least three short trips to the same area within a month.

The court heard the 25-year-old had generated £15,000 in gambling debts and was offered £500 to collect and deliver a parcel from the West Midlands to Torquay.

He accepted he knew it would be drugs, but said he was unaware of the quantity and value involved.

Judge Peter Johnson told Harvey the cocaine would inevitably have found its way to individual street deals so often funded by crime such as shoplifting, burglaries and robberies. 

He ordered the destruction of the drugs and the encrypted mobile phone.