Man found with £3m of heroin in car boot

10:27am Wednesday 9th March 2011

By Steve Wright

A businessman, alleged to be part of a £3 million heroin supply conspiracy, had the trappings of a ‘flash’ lifestyle, a jury was told.

Restaurant owner Daniele Spinola had a £60,000 Ferrari Modena and a Porsche Cayenne valued at £16,000, as well as a gold Rolex watch, valued at £17,000 new, and an extensive semi-detached property surrounded by wrought-iron fencing and with electric gates, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Nicholas Worsley told the jury yesterday that Spinola, 53, and another man, Paul Wright, 54, were stopped by police in May last year in Ingleby Road, Bradford, driving in convoy in a black Audi A4 and a black Mercedes CLK convertible. In the boot of the Audi, being driven by Spinola, were five holdalls containing 120 packaged blocks of heroin.

Mr Worsley said if broken down into street deals, the heroin would have been potentially valued at £2.93 million.

The two men were arrested and interviewed and their homes and businesses searched.

Mr Worsley said police recovered finance application documents for a Bentley GT car, along with insurance documents for the Ferrari and Porsche, at Spinola’s home in Sevenoaks Avenue, Urmston, Manchester.

The Rolex watch was found in a floor safe, and on a bedside table in the master bedroom was a photograph of Spinola and Wright with their arms round each other and laughing.

Mr Worsley told the jury that Wright, also of Manchester, had pleaded guilty to drugs conspiracy charges.

He said a search of one of Spinola’s restaurants, Il Faro, in Radcliffe, Manchester, revealed two cardboard boxes in a storage area containing amphetamines which, if cut, would have had a street value of £656,000.

Spinola told police he thought it was stolen jewellery in the boot of the Audi. He said his restaurant business was not good and he had been trying to earn extra money but, though he understood it was something illegal, he had no idea it was drugs.

He said Wright was a good customer and a friend of his had put two boxes in the loft of his restaurant.

Spinola said he had driven the Audi to Liverpool docks and things were put in the boot while he had gone for a coffee with Wright.

He said he had done the same trip to Bradford a month earlier and an Asian man picked up two boxes from his boot and loaded them into a small silver car. He claimed he did not have anything to do with drugs and did not like them.

Mr Worsley said it was the Crown’s case that Spinola was a knowing part of the conspiracy. He said the defendant was trusted to do the trips and he could not have believed he was transporting just stolen jewellery.

Mr Worsley added: “Daniele Spinola said that he was struggling financially. Despite this, he certainly seemed to have the trappings of a very flash lifestyle. The Crown say he was trusted to drive nearly £3 million valued of drugs and to store a further £300,000 to £600,000 at his restaurant.”

Spinola pleads not guilty to conspiracy to supply the heroin, and conspiracy to possess class B amphetamines with intent to supply.

The trial continues.

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