Boat-builder faces retrial in drugs case

Jurors fail to reach verdict

The UK man accused of building fast RIBs for drugs smugglers must face a retrial.

Jurors at Ipswich Crown Court failed to reach a verdict last week and the case will be rescheduled in early March.

Ian Rush, 42, of Butterwick, Linconshire, has denied one count of conspiracy to acquire criminal property.

The prosecution claims he built boats knowing they were to be used in drugs smuggling operations between North Africa and Spain.

Rush took over Crompton Marine, in Lowestoft, after the owners Richard Davison, 51, and Ellen George, 41, were arrested in March 2004.

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The court heard more than £1 million was seized from their homes in Lowestoft and Malaga after a joint operation by customs officers in the UK and Spain.

George pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to possession of criminal property and money laundering and is awaiting sentence, while Davison has been charged with drugs smuggling and granted bail in Spain.

Rush admits the company he set up, Nautesco Marine, carried on building boats similar to those produced by Crompton Marine under George and Davison.

But he claims he had no idea any of the 50 boats produced would be used illegally. He told the court he had records of all his business dealings.