English man charged with £1m cannabis seizure in Belfast

Laganside Court in Belfast

A Hertfordshire man is allegedly linked to £1 million seizure of herbal cannabis in Belfast through fingerprint evidence, a court has been told.

Philip Ketley, 35, was arrested at his home on Wednesday by detectives investigating the drugs recovered in the north of the city earlier this year.

The NHS flooring contractor, of Honey Lane in Hertford, was remanded into custody amid claims that he is part of an organised crime gang involved in the plot to bring the consignment into Northern Ireland.

Police seized 50 kilos of cannabis after two vehicles were stopped and searched at Dargan Road on January 26.

The drugs were said to have been hidden inside flower boxes before being transported by lorry across the Irish Sea.

Two other men from Co Louth and Co Armagh have already been charged in connection with the seizure.

Ketley appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court charged with supplying Class B drugs and being concerned in their supply.

Opposing his application for bail, a detective constable alleged he is linked to a gang that has suffered a £1m financial hit.

Defence counsel Michael Boyd rejected the "alarming" depiction of the accused by police.

Mr Boyd argued that the only evidence against Ketley are fingerprints found on two long white boxes.

Explaining their presence, the barrister accepted his client has a cannabis dependency.

Despite the offer of a £10,000 cash surety, Judge Bagnall refused bail.

She remanded Ketley in custody to appear again by video-link on December 30.

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