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Man convicted of using an ambulance to smuggle Class A drugs into the UK

A Dutchman has been found guilty of conspiring to smuggle drugs into the UK using a fake ambulance.

The £1.6 billion plot saw huge amounts of contraband brought across the Channel under the noses of British police.

Leonardus Bijlsma was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court this afternoon. Credit: National Crime Agency

Leonardus Bijlsma was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court this afternoon. Prosecutors said he was part of a "lucrative criminal conspiracy" concealed from border officials with the aid of bogus paramedic uniforms and fake patients on crutches.

Two other men from Holland; Olof Schoon, said to be the conspiracy's central player, and Richard Engelsbel had already admitted the conspiracy charge and will be sentenced alongside Bijlsma next week.

A fourth man, 28-year-old Dennis Vogelaar, of Vijfhuizen, Amsterdam, was acquitted by the jury of smuggling class A contraband.

One man has been convicted and two further men pleaded guilty Credit: National Crime Agency

The three men will be sentenced on December 7th.

Six 'super strength' heroin deaths 'extremely sad'

Drug users in Nottinghamshire are being warned about a rogue batch of heroin which is thought to be behind six deaths in the county in one week.

The victims were all part of a drug rehabilitation programme. Police and public health officials believe the heroin is up to three times stronger than normal.

Dr Chris Kenny who works in Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, says it's a sad case as these people were on the 'road to recovery'.


  1. Chris Halpin

Drug trafficking boss jailed for £9.5m heroin haul

Two men have been jailed for a total of more than 30 years for masterminding an international heroin smuggling operation from Pakistan.

Ringleader Tahir Mahmood controlled a gang spread over two continents from his home in Stourbridge. After being watched and followed by police in Spain and the UK, he was arrested in raids last year, along with his right hand man Anwar Bashir from Bradford.

The men were directly connected to around 46 kilograms of heroin seized, with a further 49 kilos found as part of the wider operation. In total the drugs had an estimated street value of around £9.5 million. Chris Halpin reports.

  1. Chris Halpin

The international scale of £9.5m heroin trafficking plot

Today two key players of an international drug smuggling operation were sentenced to more than 30 years behind bars. Tahir Mahmood from Stourbridge, and Anwar Bashir from Bradford, controlled a group of men to smuggle heroin to the value of £9.5m into the UK from Pakistan.

Using couriers or drug 'mules', the heroin was hidden on flights passing through the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Germany, Austria and finally the UK. Watch the video above to find out exactly how the gang planned to flood Britain's streets with heroin.

Jailed heroin gang could have brought 'violence' to Birmingham

The National Crime Agency have said an international drugs gang led by a man from Stourbridge could have brought 'misery, harm and violence' to Birmingham.

Tahir Mahmood was jailed today for a variety of offences into importation of significant quantities of heroin into Europe and the UK after previously pleading guilty.

We proved Mahmood and Bashir were linked to seizures totalling 46 kilos but I believe the network dismantled could have been responsible for many more importations – bringing misery, harm and violence to communities in Birmingham, Bradford and other cities.

“Tackling the supply of drugs on a global level and protecting our borders are priorities for the NCA and its partners. We targeted the couriers one by one and obtained the evidence that led to the downfall of these two men. They are now behind bars where they belong.”

– Paul Risby, NCA Branch Commander,
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