Ian Payne 4am - 7am
Two jailed for attempting to smuggle cocaine using Harrods shipping service
29 October 2019, 19:15
Two men have been jailed for attempting to smuggle 8kgs of cocaine by hiding it in books and sending it to Australia using the Harrods shipping service.
The men have been jailed for five years each after staff at Harrods became suspicious of the two men's behaviour in the store.
Glen Appleby, 53, and Marc Warner, 52, walked into the department store just minutes apart, and met up in the book department.
Warner had a Harrods shopping bag with him which contained books previously bought from the store, which the men had hollowed out and filled with 92 per cent purity cocaine.
The two men then hid behind a bookshelf while Warner took the books out of the bag, which he then gave to Appleby.
Warner then took the books to the till to be shipped to Australia and paid in cash.
Staff at Harrods became concerned about the order when they saw one book was in poor condition and the other book had been purchased from the department that same day.
Once they opened the books, they found both contained eight packages of cocaine, with a street worth of $1.84 million Australian dollars.
CCTV footage showed that between January 15 and February 27 the pair had visited Harrods five times, purchasing books and computer games and sending them to Australia.
The men's homes were searched and they were arrested on suspicion of the exportation of controlled drugs.
Both men pleaded guilty at Isleworth Crown Court and were jailed on Tuesday.
Detective Constable Colin Moore said: “Appleby and Warner were a small part of a sophisticated international drugs smuggling gang.
“They sought to exploit the good name of a quintessential British brand in order to smuggle drugs into a lucrative Australian drugs market. In doing so they helped fuel violence, addiction and associated criminality both within the UK and abroad.
He continued: “I hope that the sentences handed down today act as a deterrent to those who are tempted to get involved in the fringes of organised criminality.
“I would like to commend the diligence and professionalism of the store security staff who directly led to this significant drugs seizure."