Tyrone man charged over £64,000 cannabis seizure in Belgium

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A Tyrone man charged over the seizure in Belgium of £64,000 worth of cannabis was refused bail yesterday in case he tipped off his alleged accomplices.

Christopher James Wauchope, 40, of Strabane Road in Castlederg, was arrested on Tuesday following a raid on his home and appeared before Strabane Magistrates’ Court where bail was refused.

The court heard that on March 15 the Belgian authorities intercepted a postal package containing 3.2kg of the suspected Class B drug.

The National Crime Agency was alerted and they in turn spoke with the PSNI as it was addressed to a ‘Christopher Walker’.

When police swooped on the defendant’s home he immediately admitted knowledge of the package but said he did not know the identity of the sender.

He said his payment for receiving the package was to be a small amount of cannabis for his own personal use.

The PSNI opposed bail on the grounds that Wauchope could tip his contacts off about the investigation.

District Judge Bonita Boyd said the defendant had agreed to accept the package and that there was a “real and substantial risk of interference with the administration of justice and any further investigation”.

Bail was refused and the defendant will be back at Strabane court by video link on April 21.

In a follow-up operation, police arrested a 40-year-old man in Londonderry yesterday following the uncovering of a separate £66,000 haul of herbal cannabis in Belgium.

The arrest followed a search of a property in the Carnhill area of the city.

The man was being questioned at Strand Road police station in relation to a number of offences, including the attempted importation of Class B drugs.