R v Barclay, Abnett & Jeleru: convicted of large scale amphetamine importation which was around half the total quantity seized in the UK in 2014. 

On 27 November 2015, after hearing the four week trial, a jury at the Old Bailey convicted the three defendants of the importation of 350kgs of amphetamine, worth up to £7million.  The importation was committed in October 2014 by lorry.


Initially the drugs were imported into UK on a Romanian lorry, one of the convicted defendants was the driver of the lorry. A legitimate load of plastic plant seed trays were loaded and transported as cover, and were loaded in Germany. The lorry was then diverted to Holland to load the drugs onto the lorry.  

The trip to Holland was removed from driving history, however the jury heard evidence from a tachograph expert, who had traced back the route of the lorry to a light industrial site in Holland where the drugs must have been loaded.

The lorry driven into UK through Dover then to a light industrial site in Charlton South East London where Barclay was transport manager at a firm. Barclay had been in contact with the Romania, organising the drug delivery.

The boxes of drugs had been unloaded by forklift by Barclay and were in the process of being loaded into a van hired by Abnett when police and National Crime Agency (NCA) officers swooped and arrested all of them.

Abnett agreed in evidence that he had said to the officer who arrested him “I knew it wasn’t kosher. I thought it was puff”: but denied that he knew there were drugs in the boxes.

The jury took four days to convict all three men of the amphetamine importation.

Barclay was also convicted of importation of over 5,000 Ecstasy tablets and of a further offence of possession of cocaine at his home address in Swanley.

When police searched Abnett’s flat in Croydon, they found that he had converted a bedroom into a cannabis growing factory. He pleaded guilty to this offence but said it was all for his personal use even though there were numerous mature plants, the electricity meter was by-passed.

 All defendants were remanded in custody for sentence on 14 December 2015.

Chris May is a heavyweight criminal barrister instructed in some of the most serious, and often high profile criminal cases either as the leading junior or sole advocate.