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Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Cyprus court jails drug tourists
 Kevin O'Brien, Craig Dykes, John Paddington
O'Brien, Dykes and Paddington had 99 ecstasy pills
Four British tourists have been jailed for up to 30 months each for possessing and intending to supply the drug ecstasy at a Cyprus holiday resort.

The south-eastern coastal town of Ayia Napa has become a popular destination for British disc jockeys and "rave tourists" searching for a clubland holiday in the sun.

The recent rise in such crime makes the need for deterrence more necessary

Judge Nico Sandis

On Wednesday, John Paddington, 32, Craig Dykes, 29, and Kevin O'Brien, 32, all from Whitchurch in Shropshire, were jailed after pleading guilty to possessing 99 ecstasy tablets.

They were caught in May in Ayia Napa's biggest drug bust so far this year.

In a separate case before the same Larnaca court, British tourist Liam David Fisher was jailed for 12 months after pleading guilty to possessing 10 ecstasy tablets in the resort.

High price

One ecstasy pill can fetch up to 13 on the streets of Ayia Napa.

The Cypriot authorities, which show zero tolerance for drugs, are alarmed by a rise in drug-related crime in the town, especially the sale and use of ecstasy - the drug of choice for many nightclubbers.
Nightclub
Ayia Napa has become a Mecca for dance fans
A British tourist who died in nearby Paralimni hospital last month is believed to have taken five Ecstasy tablets before he was discovered unconscious.

O'Brien received the heaviest jail term, two and a half years, after pleading guilty to an additional charge of intent to supply.

Paddington and Dykes received 18 and 14 months respectively for possession.

Announcing his verdict, Judge Nico Sandis said: "The recent rise in such crime makes the need for deterrence more necessary, therefore, unfortunately, a prison sentence is unavoidable."

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Europe
Cyprus battles drugs boom
26 Jun 00 | Talking Point
Illegal drugs: what can be done?
28 Mar 00 | AudioVideo
UK reconsiders drug laws
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