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Last Updated: Friday, 20 April 2007, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Cannabis air courier admits guilt
Edinburgh Airport
Ashley was apprehended by a customs officer at the airport
A man was caught arriving in Scotland with more than 22kg of cannabis in his baggage, a court heard.

Paul Ashley was found to have the drugs concealed in the lining of a suitcase when he flew into Edinburgh Airport.

Ashley, 37, admitted being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the ban on importing controlled drugs on 29 January.

Edinburgh High Court heard how the drugs were worth 48,000. Sentence was deferred for background reports.

Ashley, a British subject who lives in Harare, Zimbabwe, was stopped by a customs officer as he walked through the Nothing to Declare channel with the case, which had been wrapped in cling film.

Advocate depute Alan Mackay said Ashley had travelled to Johannesburg, in South Africa, where he took possession of the case containing 22.7kg of the drug before flying to Paris.

"When he checked his case in it was found to weigh 32 kilos and was required to pay excess baggage fare to get in on the flight," said the prosecutor.

Threats made

The refrigeration mechanic later flew into Scotland but a search by customs revealed the drugs wrapped inside layers of paper.

Defence solicitor advocate David Taylor said Ashley had gone to Johannesburg to make money in a scheme he believed would involve diamonds.

However, he was told he would be taking the suitcase to the UK and then suspected it was drugs.

When he indicated he was not happy to act as a courier, Mr Taylor claimed threats were made against family members.

The judge, Lord Uist, deferred sentence on Ashley for the preparation of a background report and remanded him in custody.




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