Sheffield cocaine courier’s bid to escape police by swimming reservoir

A drug courier transporting around £20,000 of cocaine to Sheffield tried to escape from a police "sting" by swimming across a reservoir, a court has heard.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 10th December 2019, 3:56 pm

Police swooped on Mark Ralphs' car at a roundabout on the A616, at 4.30pm, on August 29, said prosecutor Beverley Wright.

"The officers conducted a stop and search, but he decamped from the vehicle and swam a reservoir to the other side," she told Sheffield Crown Court, on Thursday.

"Thankfully they knew what was going on and they drove to the other side and arrested him."

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Sheffield Crown Court

Ralphs admitted collecting 491 grammes of the drug, which was of 87 percent purity, and had a street value of £19,000 - £24,000.

He was paid £500 to transport it from an address in Little Hulton, Salford, but officers had the operation under surveillance. A further £5,758 in cash was discovered at his home.

In a statement he said: "I accept fleeing from the car. I was effectively rammed out of the motor and I was completely shocked."

Ralphs, aged 32, of Handsworth Grange Road, Handsworth, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply at a plea and trial preparation hearing.

He has three previous convictions, including attempted murder in 2008, which saw him jailed until May 2018.

Richard Thyne, for Ralphs, said: "He was convicted of that serious offence when he was 21. A very serious offence on someone he believed had a relationship with his girlfriend. He was a young and impulsive man. He decided to fight his corner and came off worse as a result.

"He is now more mature and reflective and took advice on this case at an early stage indicating a realistic plea on a realistic basis."

He said that Ralphs worked as a welder while in prison, and set up a window cleaning business on his release.

"The tragedy is that he only has himself to blame," he said. "He hails from the north west and moved to South Yorkshire to get away from criminal connections."

Jailing Ralphs for three years and nine months, the Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, said: "He saw an opportunity for easy money. He succumbed to financial temptation."