Grimsby

Port worker jailed for trafficking drugs

A port worker from Grimsby has been jailed for nearly seven years after being caught in possession of cocaine as he left work.

Following a National Crime Agency investigation, thirty-year-old Ben Whitby was charged with possessing drugs with intent to supply and money laundering.

Whitby was employed as a tug driver at Killingholme Port and was unaware that he was under surveillance by NCA instigators.

On February 18 they had seen him leave the place he was living in New Waltham with the black rucksack and head to work.

He was pulled over by officers from Humberside Police, who were working with the NCA, as he drove away from the port later the same day.

Officers found a black rucksack containing around 2.25 kilos of cocaine on the back seat of Whitby’s BMW car. Photo: National Crime Agency

Officers found a black rucksack containing around 2.25 kilos of cocaine on the back seat of his BMW car, with an estimated potential street value of £178,000. In the glove box they found £3,000 cash.

Following his arrest, officers searching his home recovered another £20,000 cash, as well as a number of high-value watches.

A large quantity of cash was seized. Photo: National Crime Agency

During a hearing at Grimsby Crown Court on May 4, Whitby pleaded guilty to the charges.

On Tuesday, June 23, a judge at the same court then sentenced him to six years and nine months in prison.

NCA branch commander Mark Spoors said: “Ben Whitby used his position to engage in criminality for his own personal gain.

Ben Whitby was caught in possession of cocaine. Photo: National Crime Agency

“Organised crime groups rely on people like him to bring their illicit commodities into the UK, indeed we know they actively look to recruit workers at ports and airports because of the access they have.

“I would urge anyone working in a port or airport environment who has suspicions about criminal activity to report it, through the police, Crimestoppers or through their own employers.”

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