Drug smuggler who used jet ski on North Sea ordered to pay back £2,000

Anthony Reilly

Anthony Reilly. - Credit: Suffolk Police

A drug smuggler who had to be rescued during a daring trip across the North Sea on a jet ski to pick up £200,000 worth of cocaine has been ordered to pay a £2,000 confiscation order.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act for 34-year-old Anthony Reilly at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday, November 25, heard that his benefit from his criminal behaviour was £70,000.

However, Benedict Peers, prosecuting, said Reilly, of Yewdale, Skelmersdale, only had available assets of £2,066, which included money in an ISA.

Recorder Darren Reed made a confiscation order in the sum of £2,066.

Also before the court was Reilly’s co-defendant Steven Brogan, 36, of Eskbank in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

His hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned until December 21.

Steven Brogan.

Steven Brogan. - Credit: Suffolk Police

Reilly and Brogan both admitted importing class A drugs and, in February, Brogan was jailed for seven-and-a-half years and Reilly for seven years. 

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The court heard that the pair had embarked on an "ambitious" mission from the Lowestoft area to collect drugs from Holland before they ran out of fuel and became stranded. 

A survey boat reported the incident just before 7pm on September 30, 2020, after the pair approached the vessel and asked for fuel 27 nautical miles off the Suffolk coast. 

The vessel issued a mayday call and a coastguard helicopter and volunteers from Lowestoft RNLI attended the scene.

The two men were winched to safety and airlifted to James Paget Hospital in Gorleston. 

One was showing signs of hypothermia and the other signs of exhaustion, the court heard.

Border Force officials contacted officers from Suffolk police, who discovered two "brick-like" packages of cocaine, weighing 2kg, in a rucksack. 

The court heard the drugs had an estimated street value of £200,000. 

Maps of the North Sea, tide timetables, a mobile phone and other diving equipment were later found in a Citroen van and trailer belonging to Brogan, the court heard. 

At the sentencing hearing Mark Stevens, for Brogan, said his client was a competent boxer who had run into financial difficulties. 

Stephen Mather, for Reilly, said his client was a plumber and heating engineer by trade but his business had run into trouble due to the coronavirus pandemic.