Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Robert Orchard, 65,had lived on the ‘Costa Del Crime’ for 13 years but had not been tempted to join the drugs culture until he had a cancer scare.

Cynical Robert Orchard, 65, had not seen daughter Cheyrl and grandson Robert, nine, for five years when he invited her on an all-expenses-paid sunshine trip to Marbella.
He planned to drive her back to her home in Stirling aboard a new camper-van he had bought for the trip.What she didn’t know was that Orchard had stashed cannabis resin valued at more than £800,000 underneath the bunk-bed in which her
son was sleeping.The van was stopped at Dover Docks in April last year and customs officers found the drugs by drilling through to them.As a result, Cheyrl stood trial at Canterbury Crown Court in December but was acquitted because she did not know anything about the drugs haul.Today (Monday, Feb 23) at the same court Orchard admitted his guilt. Chris Geeson, his counsel, said Orchard had lived on the ‘Costa Del Crime’ for 13 years but had not been tempted to join the drugs culture until he had a cancer scare.He said: “He was losing weight alarmingly and decided to come back to England for treatment.”Previously he had been an entertainments manager and had run holiday estates.Mr Geeson said: “He was told payment for the camper-van would be waived if he took a ‘package’ to England.“After he was caught he realised he’d been involved in significant drug-smuggling.”Passing sentence, Judge Michael O’Sullivan said: “An aggravating feature is that you placed your daughter in danger of arrest. "She was accused of being involved, which placed your grandson with the real prospect he wouldn’t have the care of his mother for some considerable time.
“But for you she wouldn’t have been put through the ordeal of being on trial. "There is no doubt you played a significant part in this importation – but for your previous good character you would be facing a longer sentence.”

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