Police uncovered a drug conspiracy after tracking a load of amphetamine that had been stored at Haberdashers’ Aske public school in Hertfordshire.
Around 10 kilos of the drug had been taken from the school to an address in Watford, where it was placed in a van that had two hidden compartments.
When the van was stopped in St Michael’s Drive, off Sheepcote Lane in Watford at 6pm on September 20 last year, the driver Clive Latter was asked if he was transporting cocaine.
He replied: “No, speed – amphetamine.”
At his home the police found three quarters of a kilo of ketamine and £61,000 cash, St Albans Crown Court heard yesterday (Thursday).
Latter, 61, a former Ocado driver, of Sayes Court Curt, Addlestone, Surrey was jailed for a total of 34 months when he appeared on a link from Bedford prison. He had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply amphetamine, possession of ketamine with intent to supply, possession of a single wrap of cocaine and possessing three fake driving licences.
Prosecutor Simon Wilshire said undercover police were observing a man who had been “storing and preparing drugs” on the premises of Habdashers’ School in Elstree, Herts, where fees at the senior school cost £21,159 a year.
He said: “Mr Latter was a trusted courier, moving around large quantities of amphetamine.”
On the day of his arrest the police saw a man from Watford go to Haberdashers’ school to collect a bag. Latter went to an address in Watford and was stopped as he drove off.
Mr Wilshire said: “The police found a hide that had been built behind the driver’s seat. Drug dogs were called and they soon established the presence of drugs.
“Mr Latter was cooperative. When asked for he was transporting cocaine he replied: ‘No op – It is speed – amphetamine.’”
“He showed the PC another false compartment that could be opened by remote control. It was empty.”
10 kilos of wet amphetamine was recovered from behind the seat. When dried its weight was 5.9 kilos with a street value of between £29,000 to £59,000.
“Three quarters of a kilo of ketamine was found at his home and £61,315 cash.”
The prosecutor said earlier, on September 5, undercover officers had seen Latter carrying out a virtually similar set of movements. On that occasion he was not stopped.
Defending, Karlia Lykourgou said Latter had lost his job with Ocado and couldn’t work for 18 months before the offence. She said he had never been involved in anything like a drug conspiracy before.
She said he suffered from diabetes and osteoarthritis. On remand in Bedford prison she said his condition has worsened.
Ms Lykourgou said Latter, who had been caring for his elderly parents, had no idea that the drugs were being stored on the school’s premises.
Jailing him, Judge Caroline Wigin said Latter had a significant role in the conspiracy and had been “the guardian of large amounts of cash.”
She said a proceeds of crime hearing will be at a later date.