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Jail for duo who trafficked £100K of cocaine to Island in fridge 

Class A drug had 77% purity

Two drug traffickers who tried to import almost £100,000 of cocaine to the Isle of Man, concealed in a fridge, have been jailed for a combined total of 17 years.

Rosemary Ellen Burgess and Peter Phillip Nulty were sentenced at Douglas Courthouse today (23 February).

The duo had attempted to have almost one kilogram of the Class A drug shipped to the Island from the UK, via a courier firm, on 29 September last year.

However the package containing the mini-fridge, which was destined for Burgess’ home on Old Laxey Hill in Laxey, was intercepted by police as part of ‘Operation Fortress’.

The drug had a purity of 77 percent.

Arrested

Data from Burgess’ phone, which was seized following her arrest on 2 October, showed she’d been in regular contact with Nulty in the days before the parcel was due to be delivered.

It also showed they’d both set up ‘Ship2Man’ accounts using false details; voice messages which were retrieved, sent by Nulty, advised her he could arrange to have Ketamine sent to her.  

Officers who searched Burgess' home also found 1.5 kilograms of cannabis hidden in the loft; the drug had a street value of more than £31,500.

The court heard the 22-year-old told officers who arrested her: “I think I’m going to jail.”

Nulty was arrested on 18 December; when officers searched his home, on Tynwald Street in Douglas, they found 0.4 grams of cocaine and £8,920 wrapped in cellophane.

Guilty

Both Burgess and 40-year-old Nulty had pleaded guilty to being concerned in the production of cocaine between 25 September and 3 October 2023.

Nulty had also admitted possessing the Class A drug and criminal property on 18 December.

In addition Burgess had pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis on 3 October and attempting to possess cannabis with intent to supply, and possession of criminal property, five months earlier.

The court heard, in a separate incident, Customs and Excise had intercepted a parcel from America, on 5 May, which had arrived at Manx Independent Carriers.

It was addressed to a property on Woodbourne Road in Douglas; when officers opened it they found 1.8 kilograms of cannabis which had a street value of more than £37,000.

A dummy parcel was delivered to the address instead and police watched as Burgess emerged from a nearby lane to meet the driver and sign for it.

Police arrested her, seizing her phone and £400 in cash, and released her on bail pending further investigation; it meant the later cocaine offence was committed whilst she was on police bail.

“Drug supply on this Island is becoming far too common. It brings misery, it really does.” –

Deemster Graeme Cook  

Burgess

In her basis of plea Burgess said she was a heroin addict who'd been offered more drugs, or £1,000 in cash, in return for collecting, storing and passing on the parcels.

Burgess' advocate told the court his client had made little financial gain from the arrangements adding she’d been ‘taken advantage of by older males’.

Asking Deemster Graeme Cook to consider her fragile mental health he asked for a tariff which ‘gives her hope’ for the future and one which would ‘ensure that she’s alive at the end of the sentence’.

Nulty

Nulty’s advocate described her client’s actions as a ‘monumental lapse of judgement’ adding his role went no further than helping to produce the cocaine to the Isle of Man.

“He is not the top level – he is not the king pin,” she added.

The court heard Nulty had previously been jailed three times for drug trafficking offences and had moved back to the Island after ‘a long time in prison in the UK’.

Asking Deemster Cook to impose a sentence ‘not so long that it extinguishes any light from Mr Nulty being released,’ his advocate added that her client believed the fridge would be containing Ketamine.

In response Deemster Cook told Nulty: “You get involved in that world; you take the chance as to what you get.”

‘Misery’

Describing Burgess as a ‘facilitator’, who’d been used as a ‘postbox’, Deemster Cook jailed her for eight years.

Addressing Nulty, who he put behind bars for nine years, he told him it was ‘serious drug offending’ adding: “You have an appalling drugs record.”

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