A TAXI driver dared a judge to increase his sentence to the maximum possible after being found guilty of being the mastermind behind a £1.3m cannabis plot.
During his two-week trial Paul Price, 55, of Richmond Way, Heswall, sacked two barristers and eventually represented himself, taking every opportunity to accuse lawyers and Judge Nigel Gilmour QC of corruption.
Yesterday he was found guilty by a unanimous verdict of conspiracy to supply class B drugs and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
His accomplice Paul Tankard, 47, of Bowring Park Road, Huyton, was also found guilty but will be sentenced at a later date.
A third man, Michael Walsh, 22, of Raleigh Road, Leasowe, was found not guilty and was released from the dock, crying and saying he felt sick.
The case centred on £1m of cannabis which was smuggled on a container ship, The MSC Zambia, from South Africa to Felixstowe and then into Merseyside.
Border Agency officials uncovered the huge haul – supposedly of 10,000 terracotta flower pots – and officers from the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) set about organising a sting.
They swapped nearly half a ton of drugs with wooden blocks, resealed them and closed the container.
With an undercover officer at the wheel, they sent the resealed boxes by lorry to the delivery address in Russell Road, Rock Ferry, where Tankard and Mr Walsh were waiting.