Drugs find driver denies knowledge

The driver of a van in which police found cocaine with a street value of £200,000 said he had no knowledge of the drugs, Lisburn Magistrates Court heard on Monday.

It was said Liam McAnoy (34) from Prospect Park in North Belfast, did, however, admit he was on his way to pay off a £1,500 drug debt to dealers.

McAnoy was heading south on the A1 near Lisburn when the van he was driving was stopped by police. A police officer told the court two kilos of cocaine were found in a panel behind the driver’s seat.

McAnoy denied having any knowledge of the Class A drugs.

During the operation police also seized McAnoy’s phone, which had a text telling him to meet a man at the entrance of a supermarket at Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland.

The court also heard that while the accused was being held another text came from the same number, saying: “Are you happy with the paint job pal”.

Police opposed bail because they formed the belief, it was said, that at least three other people were involved in the drugs find.

The court heard they also believed the accused, who told police he was driving to the Republic of Ireland to pay off a £1,500 drugs debt, could re-offend.

The judge remanded McAnoy into custody for four weeks and told the court: “He must have been trusted to be driving a van with a stash of this value.”