Dagenham men face jail over “one of the biggest drugs seizures” in Kent

Martin Merritt (left) and Hugh Webb (right) will be sentenced next month for their part in a £5milli

Martin Merritt (left) and Hugh Webb (right) will be sentenced next month for their part in a £5million drugs supply ring in Kent. - Credit: Archant

Two men are facing prison sentences for their part in a drugs supply ring stretching across Kent worth almost £5million.

Hugh Webb, of Stanfield Gardens, Dagenham, denied conspiracy to supply cannabis but the jury at Maidstone Crown Court on Wednesday (11) found him guilty.

Martin Merritt, 39, of Grosvenor Road, Dagenham, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

At the start of Webb’s trial, the court heard how he and Merritt were arrested in a police swoop in March this year.

A lorry being driven by Webb arrived at a farm in Ashford and a 40ft refrigerated container was loaded onto it.

When police stopped the lorry they discovered more than one tonne of cannabis resin.

In a nearby storage unit they found Merritt with another defendant, Michael Malone, 46, of Hove, East Sussex, sitting inside a silver Mercedes.

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When questioned, Webb claimed he was being given £500 for the pick-up but had no knowledge what he was transporting.

Merritt had a knuckleduster on him when he was arrested.

Webb and Merritt will be sentenced together along with Michael Malone and his brother Danny Malone at the end of October at Maidstone Crown Court.

Det sgt Andy Nicholl from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said: “This was one of the biggest drugs seizures of its kind in Kent and the sheer quantities of cannabis resin and their monetary value show how serious this operation was.

“We don’t yet know if these drugs were destined for the streets of Kent or further afield, but this investigation and seizure of a large quantity of cannabis has hit the drugs network of Kent hard.”