A florist from Hull has been jailed for 18 years for plotting to import cocaine into the UK hidden in boxes of flowers.
52-year-old Gary Pattison tried to smuggle over 80 kilograms of the drug with a street value of twenty-three and a half million pounds.
The cocaine had been concealed in a shipment of flowers he was driving back in his lorry from Holland. Pattison was found guilty today at Sheffield Crown Court following a week long trial.
UK Border Force say they have disrupted an multi-million pound international cocaine route, running from South America to North Lincolnshire.
The force's Deep Rummage Team, based at Immingham Docks, have seized Cocaine with a street value of six million pounds within in the last 3 months.
The Class A drugs were all hidden in coal on bulk vessels that had travelled from Columbia, to the east coast port. The drugs will now be destroyed. No arrests have been made but investigations are continuing. Sam Bullimore from UK Border Force has been speaking to us about the operation.
Cocaine with a street value of £5m has been seized at Immingham Docks. Border Force officers discovered the haul on a cargo ship that had travelled from Colombia.
Border Force sent in its specialist deep rummage team early this morning to look through the cargo of coal and they soon recovered bags of the drug weighing almost 45 kilos. Spokesman Sam Bullimore says it was a fantastic piece of work to recover the haul.
Border Force officers at Immingham Dock have intercepted an estimated £5 million worth of cocaine that was bound for the UK. The drugs, which weighed around 45 kilos, were seized from a cargo ship that docked at the port.
The vessel, which was carrying a consignment of coal, had travelled to the UK from Puerto Prodeco, Columbia, via Holland. Examination revealed the cocaine inside the packages was around 90% pure resulting in a high value of around £5 million. The drugs will now be destroyed.
Sam Bullimore, from Border Force, said:
"This is a major seizure of a class A drug, and will put a big dent in the profits of the criminal gang behind this smuggling attempt. Cocaine is an evil drug, which ruins the lives of users and of the wider community.
"We work closely with partner law enforcement agencies both in the UK and overseas in the fight against drug smuggling. Our officers work round the clock, using the latest technology, sniffer dogs and their own expertise to stay one step ahead of those involved in the illegal drugs trade.”
The interception is the latest in a series to take place at Immingham in recent months. In June cocaine with a street value of £1m was seized from a ship that had also travelled from Columbia, and last month four illegal Albanian stowaways were stopped at the port and denied entry to the UK.