A soldier who went AWOL from the Army has been jailed after bringing a van to the island containing 14.2kg of cannabis hidden in secret compartments.
But in what was described in court as a ‘bizarre set of circumstances’, Jordan Ashley Brayford became so drunk he could not remember where he parked the van.
The 29-year-old, of Whitridge Grove, Bentilee, Stoke-on-Trent, went to Ramsey police station saying he had lost his vehicle.
It was only then that it emerged he was absent without leave from the British Army and the van was subsequently located in a lane in Greeba.
A search of the vehicle revealed concealed compartments in the floor, activated by a remote control device, which contained 14.2kg of cannabis, with a street value of £284,232 in vacuum-sealed bags.
Bray admitted production of the class B drug and possession with intent to supply.
In the Court of General Gaol Delivery on Friday, he was jailed for five years and one month and banned from the island for a period of five years.
Deemster Graeme Cook said given the quantity of drugs found, the defendant must have been close to or involved in organised crime.
Prosecutor Roger Kane said Brayford arrived on the ferry from Heysham on January 27.
He said the defendant had attended the police station in Ramsey saying he had parked his van down a lane in a lay-by by a wooden gate but could not remember where he had left it.
Brayford told officers that he cycled around local pubs on his mountain bike and become drunk and had then given his bike to a child.
A good Samaritan had picked him up and taken him to Douglas but he had found his way to Ramsey and got a room at the Ramsey Park Hotel.
It was there that police arrested him on January 30 for being absent without leave from the British Army.
The next day his van was located at Greeba.
Brayford had been AWOL since January 2 and was in the 25 Training Regiment Royal Logistics Corps, based at Normandy Barracks in Leconfield, Yorkshire.
He initially denied knowing about the concealed compartment in the van and claimed to have been visiting the island to mountain bike and ‘clear his head’.
But he went on to admit the two charges on the basis that he had agreed to bring over the drugs to clear some of his debts but had no idea of the quantity involved and was simply acting as a courier.
Defence advocate Ian Kermode said his client accepted he had made a ‘catastrophic error of judgement’.
He said Brayford had had a traumatic childhood and when he had passed out after joining the British Army in 2022 it had been the ‘proudest moment of his life’.
Mr Kermode said his client had now been discharged from the Army and ‘bitterly regrets’ that his behaviour had taken away a promising opportunity and lifelong career.
He said the death of a best friend had contributed to Brayford’s ‘erratic and bizarre behaviour’ over the course of two or three days in the island.
In a letter handed to the Deemster, the defendant apologised for his actions and said he had ‘let his country down’.
Deemster Cook sentenced him to five years and one months for the drugs importation charge and four years to run concurrently for the charge of possession with intent to supply.
He also handed out a five-year exclusion order.