Fake ambulance drug smuggler 'mastermind' jailed for 24 years

The mastermind behind a drug smuggling ring that used fake ambulances to smuggle cocaine and heroin worth £1.6bn into the UK has been jailed for 24 years.

Olof Schoon pleaded guilty in November to conspiring to smuggle Class A drugs into Yorkshire, Merseyside, London and the West Midlands using a "fleet" of specially-adapted ambulances.

His right hand man Leonardus Biklsma, who used a rivet gun to conceal the drugs inside ambulances, was jailed for 28 years after being convicted by a jury of the 14-month conspiracy.

Meanwhile, Richard Engelsbel was given an 18-year jail term after admitting that he acted as a driver or driver's mate on 25 smuggling trips purporting to be journeys to pick up injured patients.

Married father of three Olof Schoon was jailed for 24 years. Credit: National Crime Agency

Schoon set up an apparently legitimate firm - International Ambulance Team - based at an office equipped with a staff canteen.

The company owned a fleet of emergency vehicles costing 220,000 euro.

The trio's audacious plot involved using bogus paramedic uniforms and fake patients on crutches to sneak high-quality cocaine and heroin to locations across the UK.

Fake invoices, riddled with spelling mistakes, and paperwork for false patient transfers to The Royal London Hospital were also used.