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Fishermen jailed for trying to smuggle £80m of cocaine into Cornwall

A fishing boat skipper has been sentenced to 16 years in jail after being convicted of trying to smuggle more than £80 million of cocaine into Cornwall.

Michael McDermott tried to bring a tonne of cocaine into the country Credit: Border Force

Michael McDermott, from Ireland, attempted to bring a tonne of cocaine into the country. The haul, weighing 939kg and up to 70% pure, was the biggest single seizure of cocaine in the UK in 2016.

The 68-year-old was arrested with his shipmates, David Pleasants, 57, from Grimsby and Gerald Van de Kooij, 27 from the Netherlands, last August. Pleasants was jailed for 14 years and de Kooij will serve 12 years.

Plymouth warship seizes cocaine in the Caribbean

HMS Argyll on counter-narcotic duty in the Caribbean Credit: MoD

The Plymouth-based warship, HMS Argyll, has seized nearly 600 kilos of cocaine with a UK street value of £21 million. It followed a 12-hour pursuit across the Caribbean.

The Type 23 frigate is on counter-narcotic operations in the region and was tasked to pursue a suspicious boat. The ship used its sea boats and Lynx helicopter to detain the crew and seize the drugs.

The crew of HMS Argyll seized 18 bags of cocaine with a street value of £21 million Credit: MoD

Five people found on board the boat were detained in HMS Argyll and handed over to US justice on Friday (22 August).

The Royal Navy has a hard-earned record of tackling illegal drugs smuggling and we should be extremely proud that HMS Argyll has been involved in a dramatic and very successful operation to disrupt the supply. The operation showed tenacity and professionalism.

– Armed Forces Minister Mark Francois


MP pledges to fight grandmother's death sentence

The MP for Cheltenham, Martin Horwood, has pledged to fight the death penalty imposed on former Cheltenham resident, Lindsay Sandiford, in the light of her failure to win her appeal at the Indonesian Supreme Court.

  • He is working with the charity Reprieve supporting Mrs Sandiford in Indonesia
  • He plans to meet with the Foreign Office to discuss how to get her legal advice to help find evidence that could mean a Judicial Review
  • He will request another meeting with the Indonesian Ambassador to discuss her sentence


Failed death sentence appeal for Cheltenham Grandmother

Foreign Office has confirmed that a grandmother from Cheltenham has lost her appeal against a death sentence for drug trafficking in Bali. Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling more than £1.5 million of cocaine into the country in May last year.

She claimed she was forced to do it. There are reports that the Indonesian Supreme Court judges have rejected her second - and possibly final - appeal.

Death row grandmother 'loses' second appeal

Lindsay Sandiford from Cheltenham is facing the death penalty in Indonesia Credit: ITV News

A grandmother from Gloucestershire appears to have lost her second, and possibly final, appeal against a death sentence in Indonesia.

Lindsay Sandiford faces a firing squad after being convicted of drug smuggling in January.

The 57-year-old from Cheltenham had been arrested at Bali Airport in May last year after drugs were found in her luggage. She has always claimed that she was forced to carry them because of threats to her children.

The Foreign Office has told ITV News that they are checking reports that her final appeal has been rejected.

If this is the case, her last hope would be a presidential reprieve.

  1. National

British woman 'loses appeal against death sentence'

The Foreign Office is seeking confirmation that a British grandmother has lost her appeal against a death sentence for trafficking drugs into the resort island of Bali.

We are aware of unconfirmed reports that the decision of the Indonesian Supreme Court has been announced. We are seeking confirmation of the decision from the Indonesian Supreme Court.

We will continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay Sandiford and her family at this difficult time.

– Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman
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