Lorry driver charged over huge cannabis haul found hidden in trailer near Doncaster

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Cannabis worth tens of thousands of pounds was found concealed within the floor of a trailer.

Two lorry drivers have been charged with drugs offences after 104 kilos of cannabis was seized during two separate seizures.

Kirk Hackett, aged 30, from Dungannon, was arrested by National Crime Agency officers after his lorry was stopped on the A1 near Doncaster on Friday (May 3, 2024).

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A total of 73 kilos of cannabis was found concealed in a hide within the floor of the trailer.

A total of 73 kilos of cannabis was found concealed in a hide within the floor of the trailerA total of 73 kilos of cannabis was found concealed in a hide within the floor of the trailer
A total of 73 kilos of cannabis was found concealed in a hide within the floor of the trailer | Submit

In a second seizure on Saturday (May 4, 2024) at Killingholme Port in North Lincolnshire, Serghei Bacaianov, a 41-year-old from Bulgaria residing in Blanchardstown in the Republic of Ireland, was arrested by NCA officers.

The vehicle had recently arrived from the Hook of Holland with a load of fresh chicken. A sophisticated manufactured concealment was found beneath the floor of the lorry containing 31 kilos of cannabis.

Combined, the two seizures have a street value of £2 million.

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Both men were questioned by NCA officers and charged to appear at court.

Mr Hackett was due to appear at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court yesterday (May 7) charged with possession with intent to supply. Mr Bacaianov was charged with importation of drugs and was due to appear at Grimsby Magistrates Court yesterday.

The two men were arrested in England as part of as part of a National Crime Agency investigation into a suspected crime network based in Northern Ireland.

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As part of the same investigation, a further two men were arrested in County Armagh, and two houses were searched with the assistance of police officers over the weekend. Cash totalling £30,000 and a Rolex watch were also recovered.

They were questioned by NCA officers on suspicion of their involvement with both seizures. They were released on bail pending further enquiries.

NCA Belfast Branch Commander David Cunningham said: “The seizure of these drugs and the vehicles used represents a significant disruption to this network's smuggling activities.

“We will continue to work closely with law enforcement partners across the UK and abroad to prevent organised crime groups from using the haulage industry to make profit from this criminality.”