1. ITV Report

Drug smuggler goes on the run then hands himself in

David Birks was convicted for 20 years whilst on the run before handing himself in Credit: NCA

A drug smuggler who went on the run and convicted for 20 years in his absence, has handed himself in.

David Birks, 42, surrendered himself to Rotherham police on the morning of November 4th before being transported to Doncaster prison to begin his sentence.

He was arrested in April 2014 in connection with smuggling almost £2 million-worth of heroin seized in Dover.

£1.8 million of heroin seized by Border Forces Credit: NCA

The class A drugs were discovered when Border Force officers searched a rented truck and found a bag containing tape-wrapped packages of heroin under the seat.

If cut and sold in the UK, they would have had a combined street value of £1.8 million.

National Crime Agency investigators were able to show that Birks met a Lithuanian driver in Belgium, loaded the drugs into the truck and then returned to the UK separately.

Birks stashed it in the seat of this truck Credit: NCA

David Birks played a key role in an attempt to smuggle class A drugs worth almost £2 million into the UK.

There is no doubt that those drugs would have ended up on our streets.

– Nick Tuff, NCA Dover
Credit: NCA

Following his arrest Birks was charged with importing a class A drug, but prior to the start of his trial he absconded.

He was tried and found guilty in his absence by a jury at Canterbury Crown Court on Friday 23 October.

At the same court on Wednesday 28 October he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The Lithuanian driver of the truck was convicted for his involvement in the attempted importation in December 2014, but following a psychiatric evaluation he was given an absolute discharge by the court.

Credit: NCA

As this case demonstrates Border Force works closely with the National Crime Agency, and other law enforcement agencies both in the UK and overseas, in the fight against drug smuggling. Border Force officers use intelligence and the latest technologies to detect illegal drugs at the border and prevent them from ending up on UK streets.”

– Paul Morgan, Border Force