Northern Ireland

Kells man Laurence McAllister jailed over animal cruelty

Horse box
Image caption The drugs were found by police when they searched a horse lorry

A County Antrim horse dealer jailed for drugs offences on Monday, has been fined £13,500 by a Scottish court over animal cruelty charges.

Laurence McAllister, 56, from Kells, was jailed for five and a half years by the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday.

He was sentenced for his part in attempting to bring drugs into Northern Ireland hidden in a horse lorry.

On Tuesday he was sentenced on separate cruelty charges and transporting a horse without a valid passport.

As well as the fine, a judge at Stranraer Sheriff's Court also banned him from transporting horses for three years.

In the drugs case, Edinburgh High Court was told a sniffer dog helped unearth 25kg of cannabis, worth about £500,000, hidden inside bags of molasses in a horse lorry.

McAllister, 56, of Kells, County Antrim, and Kieran Murphy, 46, of Rathfriland, County Down, were convicted earlier this month.

On Monday, McAllister was jailed for five-and-a-half years and Murphy was sentenced to five years.

The drugs were worth in excess of £240,000 in Scotland, but their street value would have doubled in their destination of Northern Ireland.

The pair had travelled via Dublin to Holyhead to the UK mainland and were intercepted as they made their return to Northern Ireland.

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