Hull ferry workers accused of smuggling cocaine

Mark Quilliam, Edward Tron, Susan Tron Image copyright Hull News & Pictures
Image caption Mark Quilliam (L), Edward Tron and Susan Tron all deny the charges against them

Two P&O workers used their positions as ferry crew to smuggle cocaine into Hull from Rotterdam, a court has heard.

Edward Tron, 51 and chef Mark Quilliam, 55, concealed the drugs in high-visibility jackets and used crew-only exits to avoid custom checks, the jury at Hull Crown Court was told.

Prosecutors allege the pair made up to £60,000 per trip importing cocaine for Liverpool drug dealers.

Both men deny two charges of conspiracy to import cocaine.

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Mr Tron, of Carr Hill Road, Gateshead, and Mr Quilliam, of Gladica Close, Liverpool, are on trial with Mr Tron's wife Susan, 54, also of Carr Hill Road, who has denied a charge of money laundering.

Opening the prosecution case, Paul Mitchell told the jury: "The conspiracy made use of the fact crew members were not subject to the same customs checks faced by passengers and could therefore more easily leave and go back on the boat and more easily smuggle packages of drugs from Rotterdam into Hull, which were further taken on and sold on the streets of the UK."

'Criminal activity'

Mr Mitchell said Mr Tron was in serious debt. Between 2008 and 2014, he added, Mr Tron made £138,000 in unexplained cash deposits to banks in Liverpool.

"The Crown says the deposits are so regular and so large they are clear evidence of criminal activity," said Mr Mitchell.

The pair were arrested after the National Crime Agency (NCA) mounted an undercover operation in collaboration with Dutch police.

A NCA officer was placed on the ferry and recorded conversations with Mr Tron in which the prosecution allege he admitted importing drugs.

In a police interview Mr Tron claimed he had made up a fantasy and everything he had told the undercover officer was not true.

The trial continues.