Two jailed for role in cannabis smuggling

TWO men have been jailed for their part in the smuggling of 12kgs of cannabis to Yorkshire in a package from Thailand.

UK Border Agency officials intercepted the 6ft package at Stansted Airport on May 4 last year and discovered the drugs – worth as much as £19,000 – hidden in a marine tank for storing water on a yacht.

The address for delivery was in Leeds and after the cannabis was removed a West Yorkshire policeman posed as the delivery driver.

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Michael Greenhalgh, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday there was no one at the address in Elmete Way on May 12 but a number was left and Michael Mann rang arranging another time.

Two days later he accepted delivery of the package at his home without query and was then arrested.

An invoice with the package was examined revealing the fingerprints of Matthew Jankowski.

He later accepted he had been approached in Thailand while visiting his girlfriend and offered £100 to send the package to the UK.

Mann, 44, who was found guilty by a jury of illegal importation, was jailed for two years. Jankowski, 29, of Greystones Grange, Sheffield admitted the charge and was jailed for 18 months.

Sentencing them, Mr Justice Butterfield said he accepted they were not the organisers behind the importation and were at the lower end of the chain, but they had played their part in the smuggling of a valuable consignment of cannabis.

Patrick Roche for Mann said he was a former soldier who had been invalided out of the army after sustaining a spinal injury playing rugby.

That led to him suffering arthritis and he began taking cannabis to help with his back pain and also developed a drinking problem.

The judge said he remembered Mann had such a problem because he was “in the pub when the jury returned their verdict”.