Robert Clifford at Edinburgh High Court: Lorry driver jailed for transporting cocaine to Scotland

A lorry driver has been jailed after being convicted of transporting nearly GBP3.5 million worth of cocaine into Scotland. Robert Clifford, 54, was today sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh to five years in prison after he was caught with around 65 kilograms of the Class A drug, which had a street value of GBP3.354 million in the HGV lorry he was driving. He was spotted putting two cases into the lorry in the Kensington area of London and was then arrested by Police Scotland officers at Hamilton Services, Lanarkshire, on May 28 last year.

Clifford, from Elderslie, was arrested as part of Operation Venetic, described by officers as the most significant operation into serious organised crime in UK history. It also resulted in the takedown of Encrochat – an encrypted global communication service used predominantly by criminals. Sign up to Glasgow Live newsletters for more headlines straight to your inbox

Clifford was spotted putting two cases into the lorry in the Kensington area of London.Clifford was spotted putting two cases into the lorry in the Kensington area of London.

He pled guilty to the charges when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh on March 15.

Police and prosecutors have welcomed the sentencing. Detective Chief Superintendent Stuart Houston, Police Scotland’s Head of Organised Crime, said: “Keeping our communities safe and free from the nefarious activities of organised criminals remains an absolute priority for Police Scotland and I welcome the conviction and sentencing of Clifford.

GBP3.354 million worth of cocaine was discovered by police in Clifford's HGV lorry.GBP3.354 million worth of cocaine was discovered by police in Clifford’s HGV lorry.

“Officers work tirelessly to disrupt these activities and the intelligence-led operations, undertaken with our policing and law enforcement partners, led to some of the largest seizures of drugs made in Scotland. We continue to work closely with our UK and European law enforcement partners, underlining our determination to target those involved.”

Jennifer Harrower, Procurator Fiscal for Specialist Casework, said: “Drugs do great harm to communities across Scotland and with each case of this kind we can help reduce that harm.

“It is thanks to intelligence that we were able to stop these drugs from reaching Scotland’s streets, and this kind of operation is invaluable to us as prosecutors working with our partners.

“We will continue to work as a key part of the Serious and Organised Crime Taskforce to protect those communities.”