Large seizure at Felixstowe warehouse of cutting agent used in producing cocaine

Ipswich Magistrates' Court.

Ipswich Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Nearly 280lbs of a product used as a cutting agent for cocaine has been seized at a Felixstowe warehouse.

Ipswich magistrates were told a container with 125 kilos of Ethyl p nitrobenzoate was discovered by National Crime Agency officers when they went to the warehouse in Dooley Road, Felixstowe.

Rebecca MacDougall, of the National Crime Agency, made a successful application for the substance to be forfeited.

Core Products Scotland Ltd, of Willow Yard Industrial Estate, Scotland, and the business’s owner James McBurney, of Ardoch Crescent, Stevenson, Ayrshire, were given the opportunity to make representations to Suffolk Magistrates’ Court to retain the drug.

However, neither attended the hearing nor has either got in touch with the National Crime Agency, despite numerous attempts by officers to contact them.

The court heard the National Crime Agency had sent a recorded letter to the company’s address which was returned as undeliverable. An e-mail address also did not work.

Magistrates were told this led to the conclusion it was not a valid company.

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An attempt had also been made to ring a telephone number provided to the importation agent on three occasions and messages had been left, but there was still no response.

Since the product was seized on June 28 there has been no contact from the company either to the warehouse or the National Crime Agency.

The court heard Core Products Scotland Ltd was either a fictitious company or a real company which had been hijacked by someone else connected with the importation of the cutting agent.

Core Products was set up in Scotland by Mr McBurney who is a computer programmer, according to research by officers.

It was only set up in March this year so it was not possible to tell what business the company was actually in as it does not have to file its accounts until next year.

The magistrates said they were satisfied the importation did not meet the standard of being a legitimate one. Therefore it was ruled the company must forfeit the 125 kilos of the chemical.

Although it is not illegal to import Ethyl p nitrobenzoate, it must conform to strict rules.