Taxi driver jailed for drug smuggling

A TAXI DRIVER from Essex has been jailed after he attempted to smuggle drugs with a street value of more than £800,000 into the UK.

James Hore

A TAXI DRIVER from Essex has been jailed after he attempted to smuggle drugs with a street value of more than £800,000 into the UK.

Ian Beatty from Weeley, near Clacton was stopped by customs officers as he came back into the country at Dover's eastern docks at the end of May.

The 50-year-old was found with 48kilograms of cannabis and 25kilograms of amphetamines hidden in a false compartment of a van.

During a search officers found a “cleverly concealed” compartment which contained a number of wrapped packages and the total value of the haul was £841,444.

Beatty of Hilltop Crescent refused to say where he had been but claimed he did not know anything about the drugs found in the van on May 28. The case was passed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers for further investigation.

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Beatty appeared at Canterbury Crown Court earlier this month and pleaded guilty to two counts of smuggling and the case was adjourned for sentencing.

He re-appeared at the court on Thursday and was jailed for two years and nine months.

Speaking afterwards Maddy Ratnett from HMRC said she believed the sentence would be enough to deter others from doing the same thing.

She said: “This conviction is the latest success for HMRC.

“Our investigators continue to play a key role in protecting communities by reducing the availability of drugs on UK streets.

“We will not hesitate to pursue those who commit this type of offence so that they can be effectively prosecuted by the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office.

“The sentence handed down will serve as a deterrent to those contemplating this serious form of criminality and clearly shows that crime doesn't pay.”

Beatty was charged with two counts of “being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on importation” under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

n Anyone with information about suspicious activities which may be linked to drug smuggling can call the HMRC 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000 or email

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