Glasgow & West Scotland

Two men jailed over 'James Bond' drugs plot scheme

Underwater vehicle Image copyright NCA
Image caption The men planned to use an underwater vehicle to recover the drugs

Two Dutch men have been jailed for trying to smuggle more than £16m of cocaine into the UK on board a vessel off the North Ayrshire coast.

Police discovered 108kg of the drug in the rudder area of Cape Maria, moored 2.8 miles from Largs, on 9 May.

Leeds Crown Court heard that a planned recovery operation involved a "James Bond" type underwater vehicle.

Henri Van Doesburg, 68, was jailed for 20 years for his part. Co-accused Arnold Van Milt, 49, received 16 years.

Van Doesburg's son Roderick Van Doesburg, 23, and grandson Darryl-Jay Van Doesburg, 22, were cleared of conspiring to import illegal drugs into the UK.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption Arnold Van Milt and Henri Van Doesburg were told they played for high stakes - and lost

Judge James Spencer QC told the two convicted men: "It seems to me, despite your mature years, the two of you were out to make money, the two of you played for high stakes and the two of you have lost."

All four men were charged after customs officers found more than 50 packages of extremely high purity cocaine in the rudder space of the Cape Maria vessel at Hunterston, near Largs, on 9 May.

The amount seized had a potential street value of about £16.2m.

The four-week trial heard that Van Milt had scuba diving experience and planned to access the drugs in the ship from the outside.

A Seabob underwater vehicle, dry suits and other scuba diving equipment were found in his car after his arrest.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption The drugs were hidden in the ship's rudder compartment

Describing the underwater vessel to the jury, prosecutor Paul Mitchell said: "You might have seen them used by James Bond and James Bond's adversaries.

"It's the kind of thing you use if you need to travel underwater at high speed."

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