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Thread: Crompton Marine Owner Charged for Building Boats for Drug Smugglers

  1. #1
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    Default Crompton Marine Owner Charged for Building Boats for Drug Smugglers

    Crompton Marine owner Ian Rush was yesterday accused of building boats for drug smugglers in North Africa and Spain, according to a story on the BBC News website. Rush, according to prosecutors in the Ipswich Crown Court, continued to build the high-speed inflatables even after his partners, Richard Davison and Ellen George, were both arrested in March 2004. Rush has pleaded not guilty to plotting to obtain criminal property in connection with drug smuggling.

    When Davison and George were arrested, almost £2 million was seized from their homes in Lowestoft and Malaga after a joint operation by customs officers in the UK and Spain. Simon Draycott QC, prosecuting, said that the £350,000 vessels the three built would be virtually undetectable on radar because they had a top speed of 60 knots (70mph).

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

    Crompton Marine's website says that the company uses high-quality materials and designs in manufacturing its high-speed RIBs, and shows military-looking boats in rough ocean conditions. "Crompton Marine is acknowledged as expert in the installation of complex propulsion systems, including diesel and petrol inboard engines with water jets or stern drive propulsion systems and single, double, triple and quadruple outboard engines," read the site, adding: "A range of craft is produced to suit any user."

    George pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and money laundering. She is awaiting sentence. Davison remains on bail in Spain facing drug-smuggling charges. Rush's trial will continue.
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    Default UK boatbuilder faces drug-smuggling retrial

    Ian Rush, head of Nautesco Marine, a boatbuilding company in Lincolnshire, will face a retrial on charges that he built boats for drug smugglers operating between Spain and North Africa. According to the Lowestoft Journal, Rush's three-week trial was ended after the jury failed to the reach a verdict.

    Rush was charged with conspiracy to acquire criminal property. Prosecutors charged him with continuing the illegal work of Crompton Marine after its owners Ellen George and Neil Davison were arrested by UK customs in 2004 following a joint Spanish-British investigation. Officers discovered £1.2m hidden around the couple's home. Another €1 million and £39,000 in cash were uncovered during a search of the home in which Davison had been living near Malaga, Spain. George pleaded guilty to possession of criminal property and money laundering at an earlier hearing at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court. Davison remains on bail in Spain facing drug-smuggling charges.

    During his trial, Rush admitted that the business he set up, called Nautesco Marine, built the same type of high-speed craft that Crompton Marine manufactured. But he insisted that he did nothing illegal.

    Rush told the court that following the arrest of George and Davison, he decided to set up his own business to continue boat manufacturing. He denied prosecutors' claims that some of the 50 craft he built were knowingly sold for illegal purposes. Rush said that his business was entirely above board with records kept of all sales.

    Rush also denied allegations that five visits he made to Spain to visit Davison in prison had been to plan the new venture. Rush admitted that he had paid Crompton Marine staff for the nine weeks they had been without wages following the arrest of George and Davison, but insisted that it had been a loan to be repaid when the company was able to resume trading.

    A date has not yet been set for the retrial.
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    Default Drugs Boats Fraud Woman Sentenced

    A mother-of-three, whose business made more than £20m from selling high speed boats to drugs cartels, has been given a two-year suspended prison sentence.

    Ellen George, 43, of Lowestoft, Suffolk, had pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to five counts of trying to defraud the Inland Revenue. She also admitted possession of criminal property and helping someone else to retain criminal property.

    The court heard her partner Richard Davison had absconded. The court was told that Ellen George was involved in a multi-million pound money laundering and a drug running scheme.

    The case was so complicated HM Revenue and Customs took five years to investigate. Ellen George ran a property and boat company Crompton Marine, with partner Davison, from her Lowestoft home.

    Crompton Marine adapted the £350,000 RIBs (rigid inflatable boats) to carry six tons of drugs at speeds of up to 60 knots. They were difficult to detect by radar. The profits were put into 142 properties in Lowestoft.

    Ellen George lived off the rents, but did not declare them to HM Revenue and Customs. When arrested at her home, customs officers found £1.2m of cash in a safe and £250,000 was stuffed in a holdall under the stairs. It was the largest amount confiscated by customs in the UK.

    The cash was so contaminated by drugs, it was taken out of circulation. Her defence was that she thought she was selling the boats to tobacco smugglers, the court heard. She said she did as she was told by her partner and was not any good at accounting.
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