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Courier jailed for six years after one of Northern Ireland's largest ever cannabis finds

A "trusted courier", who was caught red-handed with one of Northern Ireland's largest ever cannabis seizures, has been jailed for six years.

Judge Patrick Lynch QC told Matthew Tyrie he would have faced longer in jail but he still has a gastric band in place to deal with previous "morbid obesity" so his dietary requirements "may not be easily dealt with in prison".

Craigavon Crown Court heard that the 210 kilos of cannabis police uncovered on January 23 last year in the back of 50-year-old Tyrie's car accounted for "10% of all drug seizures during that year" and was the biggest seizure for the PSNI in five years.

Jailing the "trusted courier" and ordering him to spend half his sentence in jail and half on supervised licence, Judge Lynch told Tyrie his claims of acting under duress were "totally lacking in credibility" and that he was satisfied he had "voluntarily involved" himself in the operation to take the drugs over the border.

At the end of his trial before Christmas, Tyrie, from Knockleigh Walk in Greenisland, was convicted of possessing class B cannabis with intent to supply.

Police stopped Tyrie on the A1 near Hillsborough and when asked what was in the back of the Kia Sedone, he frankly told them he had drugs, "blow I think".

The judge revealed they were worth anything between £250,000 and £1m.

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