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Man used pet cats to try and smuggle £1.2m of heroin into UK

Scott Parker used his pet transportation business to smuggle heroin. Credit: National Crime Agency

A man who used pet cats to try and smuggle £1.2 million worth of heroin into the UK has been jailed for seven years.

Scott Parker, 43, used a pet transportation business as a cover for smuggling the drug by stashing it inside the animal crates.

He was only rumbled when staff at Heathrow Animal Reception Centre noticed the pens were unusually heavy.

When they were examined, officers found compartments concealing packages - which contained a total of nine kilos of the Class A drug - in their bases.

Parker had no idea his haul had been discovered and was arrested last November as he waited to collect the cats following the flight from Johannesburg.

One of the cages used to smuggle the drugs. Credit: National Crime Agency
Nine kilos of heroin were found in the pet cage bases. Credit: National Crime Agency

The cats were later reunited with their owners, who were completely unaware their animals had been used as a front for smuggling.

Parker, who worked for a company which specialised in transporting animals by air, admitted attempting to import a class A drug.

The London-born dual national who was living in Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years at Isleworth Crown Court in west London.

Ian Truby, from the NCA's Border Investigation Team at Heathrow, said: "This was a highly unusual attempt to bring a substantial quantity of class A drugs into the UK.

"Parker thought he would avoid our attention. But the Heathrow Animal Reception Centre staff were vigilant and our investigation showed that he knew the drugs were there.

"Working with Border Force we will continue to target those who attempt to bring illegal drugs into the UK."

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