Confiscation hearing adjourned for North sea jet ski drug smugglers

Anthony Reilly and Steven Brogan were jailed at Ipswich Crown Court

A confiscation hearing was held at Ipswich Crown Court for Anthony Reilly and Steven Brogan - Credit: Suffolk police

A confiscation hearing for two drug smugglers who made a daring trip across the North Sea on a jet ski to pick up £200,000 worth of cocaine and had to be rescued on the return leg has been adjourned.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act for Steven Brogan, 36, and Anthony Reilly, 34, was due to have taken place at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday(September 16) but was adjourned until November 25 to allow valuations to be obtained for three properties owned by Brogan.

The jet ski was used to cross the North Sea

The jet ski used by the pair in the North Sea crossing - Credit: Suffolk police

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

The court heard that Brogan and Reilly 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 Lifeboat ‘Patsy Knight’ attended the scene.

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

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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. 

 Brogan claimed to officers that he had been fishing on a jet ski but had run into difficulty after running out of fuel.

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. 

"He lost out on a fight, he had no money coming in, he was asked to do this and foolishly agreed," Mr Stevens said.

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. 

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