Two men were cleared last night of being part of Britain’s largest ever cannabis smuggling ring.
Both men had denied being connected to a network of bosses smuggling £850,000 of cannabis a week from Holland, hidden in flower boxes, and storing drugs and money in lock-ups and homes in Kingston, Sutton, Ashtead and Epsom.
The jury at Soutwark Crown Court came back at 5pm yesterday to issue not guilty verdicts for so of the men accused of being the “driver” and “courier”.
Jurors decided Richard Seville, 42, of Ecclesbourne Road, North London, did not know the 27 deliveries he made to a lay-by near the A217 involved cannabis.
So-called “courier” Peter Gilmour, 36, of High Wycombe, was also cleared of involvement in the network.
Defence solicitors had argued that the two men had been duped by the bosses of the network, using the example of the lorry drivers who unwittingly brought the flowers from Holland to warehouses in Chatham, Kent and were not prosecuted.
The jury is still considering its verdicts on three more people.
Lindsay Graham, 42, of Bushey Road, Sutton, was accused of being a major drug dealer known in deal books as Gyp.
James Hay, 31, of Stonny Croft, Ashtead, is accused of being a minor dealer who was found with 20kg in the boot of his car after a drug deal in an Epsom pub.
Mandy Cripps, 34, of High Wycombe, is the girlfriend of Roger Alexander, a drug dealer who has already pleaded guilty.
She admits keeping deal books for him but says he dictated all the figures for her and she did not know the amounts and names she was taking down were drug-related.
By David Lindsell