Man cleared of illegal boat sales

A MAN accused of setting up a company to continue the work of a couple who supplied high speed boats to international drug smugglers has been found not guilty.

A MAN accused of setting up a company to continue the work of a couple who supplied high speed boats to international drug smugglers has been found not guilty.

Following a four week trial at Ipswich Crown Court, a jury took just over four hours to clear Ian Rush.

After the verdict was returned on Friday Judge David Goodin told Rush that he was free to leave the dock.

The ending of the case has cleared the way for arrangements to be made for the sentencing of Ellen George, 41, from Colville Road, Lowestoft, who was one of the owners of the business which HM Revenue and Customs had alleged Rush had succeeded.

George has pleaded guilty to money laundering offences after Customs investigators, working in co-operation with the authorities in Spain, searched her home in Lowestoft and discovered £1.2 million in cash stashed in holdalls, cupboards and under the stairs.

During Rush's trial the prosecution alleged that he had worked with Neil Davison and Ellen George who ran Crompton Marine and who specialised on manufacturing high speed inflatable boats capable of carrying heavy loads and still outrunning pursuing craft.

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HM Revenue and Customs claimed that after Davison and George were arrested in March 2004, Rush set up his own business, Nautexco Marine to continue supplying boats to drug smugglers.

Davison is currently on bail in Spain accused of drug smuggling offences.

Rush, a father of three from Brand End Road, Butterwick, near Boston pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to retain the proceeds of drug smuggling and conspiracy to acquire criminal property.

But his defence barrister Philip Hackett told the jury that HM Revenue and Customs had failed to demonstrate any link between Rush and the illegal activity of which he stood accused.

Giving evidence, Rush had earlier told the jury that he had been unaware of the activities of Davison and George, who operated from the Brook Yachts site in Lowestoft, and for who he had delivered boats to Spain.

Rush, a former lorry driver and mechanic, told the jury that he had always run his business within the law, keeping proper records and never selling boats for cash.

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