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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 17:20 GMT
Firm 'built drug dealer's boats'
A boat builder designed high-speed vessels for international drug smugglers, a court has heard.

Ian Rush, 42, is accused of continuing to build boats virtually invisible to radar after his partners were arrested.

The boats were made for criminals to transport drugs between North Africa and Spain, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Mr Rush, of Butterwick, Lincs, took over Crompton Marine in Lowestoft. He denies one count of plotting to obtain criminal property.

'Outrun' authorities

Crompton Marine owners Richard Davison, 51, and Ellen George, 41, were both arrested in March 2004.

Almost 2m was seized from their homes in Lowestoft and Malaga after a joint operation by customs officers in the UK and Spain, jurors were told during Mr Rush's trial.

Simon Draycott QC, prosecuting, said the 350,000 vessels the three built would be virtually undetectable on radar as they had a top speed of 60 knots (70mph).

Mr Draycott said: "This was such a powerful boat it could carry a lot of drugs, a lot of contraband and still go so fast. It could outrun any maritime craft.

'Proceeds of crime'

"The ribs (rigid inflatable boats) were built, sold and transported to southern Spain, North Africa and Morocco.

"Mr Davison, Ms George and Mr Rush knew those buying the boats wanted them for one reason, to transport drugs and contraband from North Africa to southern Spain.

"They also knew that the money used to pay for the boat was coming from proceeds of crime."

Ms George has already pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and money laundering and is awaiting sentence while Mr Davison remains on bail in Spain facing drug smuggling charges.

Mr Rush's trial continues.

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