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P&O pair on trial over drugs smuggling

Two North Sea vessel workers accused of conspiracy to bring in cocaine from Netherlands.

Two P&O Ferries workers have been accused in court of trying to smuggle cocaine into the UK from the Netherlands.

Hull Crown Court was told the men exploited weaker security regulations for crew in the operation.

Edward Tron, 51, and Mark Quilliam, 55, deny two offences of conspiracy to smuggle cocaine.

Tron’s wife Susan, 54, is also on trial. She denies money laundering, the Hull Daily Mail reported.

Prosecutor Paul Mitchell said drugs were either carried in bags or were to be concealed inside high-visibility jackets.

Tron worked on the 60,000-gt Pride of Hull (built 2001), while Quilliam was a chef on the 31,800-gt Pride of York (built 1987).

The court heard Tron recruited colleague Jonathan Heald, who was arrested in February 2014 handing over a bag containing £59,980 ($73,300) to a partner in the UK.

Heald admitted money laundering and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Mitchell said Tron then tried to recruit a new security officer on board known as Bill. But Bill was an undercover police officer.

Mitchell added: “What the evidence says is that Quilliam was the point of contact between Tron and the criminals who were Liverpool-based but behind the actual deportation at the Dutch end.”

Tron was arrested in Rotterdam. He told police his comments about bringing in drugs to “Bill” were a “fantasy” and an “elaborate joke”.

The trial continues.