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Man jailed after airport's biggest ever heroin seizure

A man from Blackpool has been jailed for 24 years for attempting to import heroin worth a potential £26 million into the UK inside an oven. The drugs were discovered hidden deep within the commercial oven, which had been imported from Iran, at Manchester Airport on April 10 this year. Border Force officers stripped away metal panels and rendering bricks at the rear of the oven where they found more than 120 tape-wrapped packages, each containing around a kilo of heroin.

Ian Graham Credit: National Crime Agency

It is believed to be the biggest ever seizure of heroin at Manchester Airport. National Crime Agency investigators were able to trace Ian Graham, 45, of Raikes Parade in Blackpool, and obtained CCTV footage of him paying freight charges for the shipment at a bank in his home town using a false identity. On 18 April he drove to the airport freight centre in a hired van to collect the oven, where he was arrested by the NCA. Graham was found guilty of importing heroin following a trial, and at Manchester Crown Court. Today he was given a 24 year jail term.

“This was a substantial quantity of class A drugs, the profits from which would have ended up fuelling further criminal activity both in the UK and abroad.

“Had he not been arrested Graham would have played a crucial role in getting that heroin onto our streets.”

– Robert Miles, head of the NCA’s Manchester Border Investigation Team,

Police car involved in crash on M61 after vehicle pursuit near Blackpool

A police car has hit the central reservation and overturned on the M61 leaving a police officer injured.

The car had been involved in the pursuit of a silver Vauxhall Vectra on the motorway southbound near Rivington Services.

It's thought the officer's injuries aren’t thought to be life threatening.

Police are still trying to trace the Vectra - it's thought there were three men in it - and if anyone can help the inquiry they're being urged to contact 101.

They're advising motorists to avoid the area and to expect delays.

Police believed the Vectra was in a collision on Alfred Street in Blackpool this afternoon where a Bentley car was damaged.


Huge waves crash into lifeboat during Blackpool rescue

This dramatic footage shows the rescue efforts of Blackpool RNLI after three men went into the water at North Pier.

Huge waves can be seen crashing into their lifeboat as they search for the men. One man managed to escape from the water unaided but the other two were found clinging to the seawall at around 7.30pm yesterday.

The men were helped to safety after a joint rescue effort from RNLI Fleetwood, RNLI Lytham, Lytham Coastguard, Fleetwood Coastguard, police, fire service, ambulance service and the coastguard rescue helicopter.

"The outcome could have been very serious indeed had it not been for the quick thinking of staff on North Pier who threw them a life ring and phoned the Coastguard."

– Blackpool RNLI volunteer helmsman David Warburton


Man, 73, with dementia missing from Blackpool

Michael Smedley, 73, has dementia Credit: Lancashire Police

We are appealing for help to find a man who is missing from an address in Blackpool.

Michael Smedley, 73, went missing from a residential home on Lytham Road at 9.50am this morning - Monday September 19.

He is described as white, tall and wears glasses. He was last seen wearing a brown jacket and beige trousers.

Michael has dementia and police have said they are getting increasingly concerned for his welfare.

Anyone who has seen Michael or has any information on his whereabouts can contact police on 101 quoting log 361 of 19th September.

Police appeal after young woman robbed in Blackpool

Grand Theatre on Church Street Credit: Google Maps

We are appealing for information after an 18-year-old woman was robbed in Blackpool.

The robbery happened in the early hours of Tuesday, September 6 when the victim was approached by two men near to the Grand Theatre on Church Street. They pushed her over and slapped her before stealing cash from her handbag.

The two men were described as wearing dark clothing with their hoods up. DI Gareth Willis of Blackpool CID said:

The victim has been left extremely shaken by her ordeal and we would appeal to anyone who may have been in the area at the time and has any information that could assist with our enquiries to contact us as soon as possible.

In light of this incident, we have stepped up reassurance patrols in the area and we would also urge other women to make sure they remain vigilant and keep safe when walking in the town centre and wherever possible try to avoid walking on their own.

Anyone with information about the robbery can contact police on 101 quoting crime reference WA1613798.

Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at

– DI Gareth Willis of Blackpool CID
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