A CLEANER who used his business as a front to supply cannabis was found with more than 42 kilograms of the drug in a specially adapted van.

Police stopped the van belonging to Andrew King on Kingsclere Road, just outside Basingstoke, on July 30 after they received intelligence.

King told officers that he was on his way to a gym in Newbury, upon a search they found 600 grams of cannabis resin and 42.5 kilograms of ‘skunk' cannabis, which had been vacuum packed to mask the smell. The cannabis had a street value of up to £428,000. He was also discovered with £29,600, some in a rucksack and the rest in the rear of the van.

On Friday, King, of Bridge Way, Witton, Twickenham, appeared at Winchester Crown Court to be sentenced after he previously pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possessing criminal property.

Prosecuting, Siobhan Linsley said that the van had been modified to include compartments to hide the cannabis. King also had “scented candles, fragrance pellets and spilled cleaning products, again to mask the odour”.

The court was told that the 39-year-old had 18 previous convictions for 32 different matters, some included being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

In 2014, King was jailed for 20 months for organising the handover of a large amount of the drug. He was stopped at the airport trying to leave the country with £8,700.

Ms Linsley said that King had a “deep routed and entrenched involvement in the supply of cannabis” and would have expected significant financial reward.

In mitigation, Sarah McIntyre said that after his previous release from prison King “tried to start turning his life around but he got back into using cannabis”, adding that he then “spirals out of control”.

The court heard King has a “young family with a bright future who will be severely affected by this”.

Ms McIntyre insisted that there was "no evidence of him directing or organising” the drugs operation and that the modification of the van was carried out by someone else.

In sentencing King, Judge Susan Evans QC said: “This was sophisticated transportation by a person trusted with a large amount of cannabis and money.”

The judge added that King was using his business “for some degree as a cover” and jailed him for four and half years.