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Ex-transport cop jailed for smuggling £600k of drugs into Scotland in machinery

A SHAMED ex-transport cop and his accomplice have been jailed after they were snared smuggling drugs into Scotland inside machinery.

David Brown, 51, and Patrick Hattie, 52, were caged yesterday after police seized cocaine, cannabis resin and herbal cannabis with a value £2million.

Ex-BTP cop David Brown has been jailed for six years

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Ex-BTP cop David Brown has been jailed for six yearsCredit: Police Scotland
Brown was snared over his involvement in drug smuggling into Scotland

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Brown was snared over his involvement in drug smuggling into ScotlandCredit: Crown Office

The pair were caught after being recruited by haulage firm boss Lawrence Phee, who ran the illegal enterprise.

Prosecutors revealed how drugs were imported from Spain into Scotland hidden inside machinery.

Brown, of Carfin, Lanarkshire, claimed he had been duped into trafficking drugs after being stopped ready to board a ferry to Ireland in December 2018.

He was sentenced to six and a half years and Hattie, of Airdrie, Lanarkshire, to five and a half years at the High Court in Glasgow.


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They had earlier been convicted of being concerned in the supply of the drugs between November 1 and December 1 2018.

Lord Summers said: “I am satisfied that Mr Phee was responsible for the movement of the drugs in this trial.

“You, Mr Brown, had a hands on role and moved the van from Mr Hattie’s yard to Cairnryan and were more than a simple courier…Mr Hattie was the facilitator.

“You knew you were involved in a significant operation due to the size of the container Mr Hattie transported.”

Addressing Brown, he went on: “You were an inspector for the British Transport Police and were awarded a long service and good conduct medal.

Drugs were hidden in machinery and transported from Spain

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Drugs were hidden in machinery and transported from SpainCredit: Crown Office

“You had a career in the police and the knowledge of criminal offending increased your responsibility.”

Phee, of Airdrie, was jailed for eight and a half years after a separate hearing in 2020 after he pled guilty to the same charges.

Prosecutor Alan Cameron said: “The drugs were hidden and then transported in lorry trailers run by a variety of individuals and companies.

“The drivers of the vehicles and the operators of the transport companies were, at times, unaware of the presence of drugs.”

The court heard Phee organised for approximately 15 shipments to be made from Spain into the UK and sometimes onto the Republic of Ireland.

David Brown, right, and Lawrence Phee, centre, at Cairnryan ferry terminal

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David Brown, right, and Lawrence Phee, centre, at Cairnryan ferry terminalCredit: Crown Office

This often involved contacting transport firms using an alias and a fake company name – such as Pat Kelly of Kelly Compressors.

Mr Cameron said the total quantity of the drugs smuggled was unknown – but told the court two incidents gave an “insight” into the large scale operation.

In May 2018, Phee – known as Pat Kelly – and two associates met with a transport company in Alicante.

A huge generator wrapped in clingfilm was then loaded onto a lorry.

The drivers of the truck were later stopped by police in France and a total of 126kg of herbal cannabis was found stashed inside the generator.

The innocent drivers were held for two days before being freed.

A lorry carrying the drugs was stopped by police

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A lorry carrying the drugs was stopped by policeCredit: Crown Office

The herbal cannabis had a cost in Scotland of £504,000 and £750,000 in Ireland, if sold in kilogram deals – but Mr Cameron said “maximum potential value would be greater” if the drugs were broken down further.

On December 1 2018, a van driven by Brown was stopped by police at Cairnryan ferry port in Dumfries and Galloway.

He claimed to be a courier who had collected a load from Kelly Compressors in Shotts, Lanarkshire.

One of the officers – who had knowledge of machinery – was suspicious about alterations made to a fuel tank that was being transported.

Mr Cameron: “When it was fully open, it was approximately three quarters full of packages of controlled drugs.”

It emerged Phee had tailed the van to Cairnryan, but was not linked to the seizure at that time.

A total of 4kg of cocaine, 23kg of herbal cannabis and 5,072 bars of cannabis resin were discovered.

The drugs were valued at £600,000 in Scotland – £1m in Ireland – but again bring in more cash if split into smaller street deals.

Brown told jurors how he had been offered work at short notice of a trip to Ireland using a van hired by Kelly Compressors.

He said in evidence that he thought he was transporting an oil tank as that was mentioned in the paperwork.

Tony Graham QC, defending Brown, said: “Mr Brown should not be here as he was a police officer and became involved in criminality of a different kind.

“There was a naivety to his involvement.”

Donald Findlay QC, defending Hattie, said: “He just chose to turn a blind eye to things that would have caused him to hear alarm bells ringing.”

It is because of this position he finds himself here today.”

The pair will both face a Proceeds of Crime hearing at a later date.

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