The boss of a well-known removals firm in Kent has been jailed for 12 years for his part in an international drug-smuggling plot.
Brian Wright (above, right), 73, the MD of Folkestone-based P&D Removals, used it as a front to import about 55 kilos of class A drugs during spring and summer 2020, with accomplices Mark Youell, 64, from Clacton-on-Sea, and Alfred Rumbold, 65, from Orpington, who have both been jailed for 14 years.
The family business called itself, ‘South East Kent’s Premium Removals and Storage Company’ and had operated in the property sector since 1972, most recently from its new purpose-built managed storage facility in Old Romney, Kent.
Wright and his friends were unaware that they were the subjects of a covert investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA); the trio had a series of clandestine meetings with a Merseyside-based organised crime group who wanted to import class A drugs utilising Rolls Royce-driving Wright’s legitimate removals company. Covert listening devices picked up a conversation at a meeting at a café in July 2020 where Youell told Rumbold and Wright: “We’re gonna hit the jackpot” and that they were going to make “f***ing mega dough”.
Wright collected the drugs during a trip to The Netherlands, which had been sealed inside fish tanks. However, the truck was raided just outside Utrecht and Wright, who was sleeping inside, was arrested.
Encrochat messages attributed to Rumbold by the NCA showed that he was discussing with numerous criminals the potential to move drugs across Europe using Wright’s firm. Both Youell and Rumbold denied drug importation charges, while Wright denied any knowledge of the drugs, claiming he was just transporting furniture.
NCA regional head of investigations, Peter Stevens, says: “The sentences handed out today demonstrates just how seriously UK courts take drug trafficking offences. I hope others involved in this type of activity take notice – we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised criminal networks involved in international drugs supply.”
Read more about drug production and smuggling within the property industry.