Down-on-his-luck dad collared on M6 in BMW packed with shopping bags

Leonard Simpson
Leonard Simpson has been jailed -Credit:Lancs Police

A driver collared in a BMW packed with shopping bags of cannabis worth more than £1m was offered £2,000 to lug his illicit haul north of the border.

Leonard Simpson was pulled over at Forton Services on the M6. Realising the game was up, the 35-year-old admitted to police his ride was full of drugs.

Officers from Lancashire Police searched the vehicle and discovered 109kg of cannabis split into 243 separate vaccum packs, stuffed into shopping bags.

Simpson said he was travelling home to Scotland when he was caught on January 27, 2024. At the time of the arrest, Lancashire Police said they thought it was "possibly one of the biggest drug seizures in Lancashire in recent years".


Simpson pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of class B drugs and appeared at Preston Crown Court to be sentenced.

The dad-of-two said he had fallen on hard times after an accident left him struggling to work. He agreed to transort the drugs as a 'one-off' and expected to be paid £2,000 for acting as a courier.

Sentencing, the Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, said: "This was clearly an enormous quantity of cannabis he was moving.

"He must have been aware that this was a substantial enterprise in which he was engaged because of the amount of drugs involved. He had an expectation of £2,000 which for this amount of work is a significant financial reward.

"He has aligned himself to what he must have understood to be some serious organised crime."

The judge accepted Simpson, of Whirlbut Crescent, Dumferline, has put his time on remand to good use and his last conviction, for possession of cannabis, dates back to 2007.

But he said: "This type of offending, with drugs on this scale, is so serious that only an immediate sentence of custody is appropriate. He has, for significant reward, chosen to move large quantities of drugs along the motorway and must have known he was assisting organised criminals."

He sentenced Simpson to two years in prison.

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