Anglesey pilot David Lloyd 'no part' in drug smuggling

A flying instructor from Anglesey was used as a "front" by a gang trying to smuggle cocaine worth millions of pounds into Britain, a court has heard.

David Lloyd, 65, from Llangristiolus, is accused along with three others of conspiring to bring 14kg (31lb) of the drug into the UK.

But his defence team told a jury he had no part in the plans.

The three other men also deny conspiracy to smuggle drugs at the trial in Liverpool Crown Court.

Defending, Meirion Lewis Jones, said Mr Lloyd had been used to "provide respectability" and as a "front" for the drug smugglers.

He told the jury that Mr Lloyd had served for 25 years in the RAF, including lengthy spells in search and rescue, as well as being part of the crew which flew Terry Waite home after his four years held as a hostage in Lebanon.

"Would a man of these attributes willingly involve himself with a plot of this kind?" asked Mr Lewis Jones.

The jury was told how Lloyd met two of his co-accused through his job as chief instructor at the Mona Flying Club.

Paul Roche, 55, from Prestwich, Manchester, and David Watson, 54, also from Prestwich, had both been taught to fly by Lloyd.

He told how he had flown with them to France on several trips prior to the one that led to his arrest.

Mr Lloyd said he only knew the men through the flying club and did not mix with them socially.

He was arrested when their plane landed at Mona airfield on Anglesey in July 2009.

£3.5m cocaine

Blocks of cocaine were found neatly packed in the base of a pilot's bag belonging to 29-year-old Matthew Lockwood, also from Prestwich. Other blocks of cocaine were found stashed in a pillow case and one was found lying loose in the plane.

The jury has been told that the drugs had a street value of £3.5m.

Plane passenger Lockwood has pleaded guilty to the drug smuggling charges.

Paul Roche was also on-board, but has denied being part of the conspiracy.

The owner of the plane, David Watson, was in America at the time, but it is alleged he is one of the main organisers, a charge he denies.

His son Andrew has also been implicated in the plot, but the court has been told that he has so far evaded arrest.

Another man, Richard McArthur, 45, from Northern Ireland, admits smuggling drugs but denies conspiracy to smuggle cocaine on the grounds he only acted as a courier, driving the drugs from Spain to Le Touquet in France

One other man, Michael Cahillane, has also pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge.

The trial is continuing.

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