Driver claimed he was carrying dog meat after police seized 20kg of drugs from car
A drugs "courier" claimed he thought he had been carrying dog meat after police seized 20kg of amphetamine from the car he was driving.
Andrew Wilkinson was behind the wheel of a VW Caddy that was stopped by officers near Washington services in September 2019.
Officers found ten 2kg bags of white powder in the vehicle, that had travelled from Manchester and forensic testing identified it as amphetamine, with a street value of up to £60,000.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister told Newcastle Crown Court: "He said he had been asked to deliver what he thought was dog meat, to pay off a debt."
Mr Pallister said the 24 percent purity of the drugs was "unusually high".
Wilkinson admitted possessing a controlled drug of Class B with intent to supply.
The 38-year-old, of Wydale Way, Walker, Newcastle, has been jailed for 30 months.
Prosecutors have launched proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize any assets he has.
Assistant Judge Advocate General Edward Legard told Wilkinson: "You were to say you had been in debt at the time, £5-£6,000 and had been asked to deliver dog meat as a favour to clear that debt.
"At no point were you made aware, according to you, about the drugs."
Richard Bloomfield, defending, said it was a "targeted stop" by the police, who must have been tipped off about what Wilkinson was carrying.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Brooks, of Northumbria Police, described the seizure as an “excellent piece of police work”.
He said: “This is a huge seizure of suspected Class B drugs that would likely have a street value of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“We believe it was being transported into our Force area and that it would have found its way onto the streets so this is a fantastic result.
“It was a real team effort with officers from our Motor Patrols Department responding to credible intelligence about organised crime.
“They have located the vehicle, bided their time and then performed a box manoeuvre to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.
“It was an excellent piece of police work that has resulted in significant seizures and the arrest of the driver of the vehicle.”