A heroin smuggler who went on the run, has today been given a 20-year jail sentence - even though he wasn't in court - and hasn't been found. David Birks went on the run having been given bail after his first court appearance.
Now the National Crime Agency, the British equivalent of the FBI, is appealing for information about the whereabouts of the 42-year-old, who organised a cross-channel drugs run that would have netted nearly two million pounds. John Ryall was at Canterbury Crown Court.
A drug smuggler who conspired to bring £1.8m worth of heroin through the Port of Dover has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
David Birks aged 42 from Rotherham was sentenced in absentia. He went on the run and failed to attend the trial at Canterbury Crown Court.
A lorry driver has been jailed for 12 years after attempting to smuggle 30 kilos of cocaine into the UK.
Border Force officers stopped an Italian-registered lorry at the freight controls in the Eastern Docks, Dover on 16 January 2015. They questioned the driver, Artur DODA, and searched the vehicle and its load of flowers from the Netherlands.
In a purpose built concealment under the cab floor officers found 29 packages wrapped in brown tape. The packages all contained white powder which tested positive to a field test for cocaine.
Forensic tests later showed the cocaine to have an exceptionally high purity which gave the drugs an estimated potential street value of £3.8 million.
Doda, an Italian national born in Albania, was arrested and the case was passed to the National Crime Agency. He was later charged with the attempted drugs importation.
He pleaded guilty at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on 2 February and was sentenced there on Friday,13 March 2015.
Border Force officers use high-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.
They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners - as well as visual searches - to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to drug smuggling should call the hotline on 0800 59 5000.
A German man has been arrested by Border Force officers at Dover’s Eastern Docks on suspicion of smuggling class A drugs.
Charles Ukachukwu IMOH, 57, of Essen, Germany was stopped after he arrived by coach from Frankfurt, Germany in the early hours of Saturday 4 October.
Following searches Border Force officers recovered around 80 small packages containing cocaine weighing approximately one kilo with an estimated value of between £81,000 and £200,000.
Tests will now be carried out to establish the purity and final value of the drugs.
Imoh was questioned by investigators from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command and charged with attempting to import class A drugs.
He appeared before Folkestone Magistrates Court on Tuesday 7 October where he withheld his plea and was remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 27 October 2014.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.
A man who tried to smuggle a kilo of cocaine through Gatwick Airport, by hiding it in a pair of trousers, has been jailed for 5 years. Hungarian national Sandor Malnai, who's 49, was stopped by Border Force officers who spotted a pair of "unnaturally stiff" green trousers in his luggage.
A former police community support officer from West Sussex has been sentenced to 14 years in an Indonesian prison.
Andrea Waldeck, 43, was arrester back in April when she was found with crystal meth in her hotel room in Sarabaya, the capital of East Java.
At the time, she told police that she had been asked by her boyfriend, who lives in China, to take the drugs to a man in Indonesia.
Waldeck, who lived in Rustington, West Sussex pleaded guilty to trafficking drugs worth more than £3000 into the country.
The strict drug rules in Indonesia could have meant she faced the death penalty.
As well as her jail sentence, she has been ordered to pay a fine of £101,500 by Surabaya District Court.
Lorry driver Paul McCarthy has been charged with importing heroin.
He pleaded guilty at Canterbury Crown Court on Wednesday, August 7 and was sentenced for 10 years.
Malcolm Bragg, from Border Force, said: "Our officers are on constant alert to keep illegal drugs and other banned substances out of the UK and take them out of the supply chain before they reach the sheets.
"Drug trafficking is a serious offence and those convicted will face prison sentences. The message to anyone tempted to get involved is clear. We will catch you and you will pay with your liberty."
A British lorry driver was been jailed for 10 years after attempting to smuggle heroin through the Channel Tunnel at Dover.
Border Force officials seized around nine kilos of heroin which have an estimated street value of up to £690,000.
Canterbury Crown Court heard that officers at the Channel Tunnel entrance in France stopped a Dutch-registered transit van being driven by Paul McCarthy on March 11, 2013.
After questioning McCarthy, officers searched the van and noticed the fuel tank had been tampered with.
Further examination found nine silver wrapped packages which reacted positively to heroin when tested.
If they had succeeded they would have flooded the UK with £90 million worth of cocaine. Today, two men were sentenced to more than 40 years in jail - for trying to smuggle the drugs into the country on a sailing boat.
The pair were caught red handed - just off the coast of the Isle of Wight - with the class A substance stuffed into packets and cylinders - and hidden behind false walls.
But they were stopped in time by the UK Border Agency - whose job it is to patrol our coastline and to prevent drugs getting onto our streets. Charlotte Wilkins reports and speaks to Tim Fleming from the UK Border Agency.