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Former Suffolk man is jailed after £400,000 cannabis haul found

PUBLISHED: 15:31 19 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 19 September 2017

Mark Henderson has been jailed for smuggling cannabis into Jersey. Stock picture. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Mark Henderson has been jailed for smuggling cannabis into Jersey. Stock picture. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

A former Suffolk man who was once jailed for shooting someone at a nightclub in Marbella is today behind bars in Jersey after being sentenced for trying to smuggle £400,000 worth of cannabis into the island.

Classic-car dealer Mark Henderson was caught by Customs officers with the huge haul hidden inside the panels of his Mercedes SUV.

The Royal Court’s Superior Number, which convenes only for the most serious crimes, heard on Monday that the 49-year-old got involved in the deal because he owed £20,000 to ‘serious gangsters’.

Long-term criminal Henderson, who was sentenced to eight years for attempted murder after he tried to shoot a Spanish doorman but missed and hit a passer-by, pleaded guilty to three counts of importing drugs into the Island. He was jailed for five years and a confiscation order for £2,573 was made.

He was also jailed for fraud in 2008 after ripping off a number of businesses in Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

Outlining the case, Crown Advocate Emma Hollywood said the defendant was stopped on Sunday 21 May after driving off the Condor Liberation from Poole.

Asearch of his car found thousands of pounds’ worth of cannabis in tightly rapped bundles.

Advocate Hollywood said Henderson was a ‘trusted importer’ who was entrusted with 20 kg of cannabis that could be sold for up to £400,000.

Advocate Julian Gollop, defending, said the facts of the case were straightforward but how his client came to be in debt to gangsters was not.

‘In 2011 my client was released from prison and found that he had an interest in classic cars and found that was a way forward,’ he said.

Advocate Gollop said Henderson was successful until he got his eyes on a 1950s Mercedes. It was heard that Henderson thought the car, restored, could be worth more than £100,000.

He borrowed money off an ‘associate’ to buy the car but quickly realised ‘he had been duped’.

The court heard that when he told his ‘associate’ that he could not pay the money back straight away because his deal had gone sour he was informed that the £20,000 had actually come from a drugs gang.

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