News story

Birmingham man jailed after Border Force cocaine seizure

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A man from Birmingham has been jailed for eight years after Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport caught him trying to smuggle cocaine into the UK hidden inside tins of vegetables.

David Downer, 48, of Lozells Wood Close, Lozells, was stopped as he arrived into Gatwick’s North Terminal on a flight from Montego Bay in Jamaica on 15 November 2013.

He was travelling alone and told officers he had been to the Caribbean for a family funeral.

However during a search of his baggage officers found a number of cans of tinned vegetables. They were x-rayed and a number of tape-wrapped packages were found to be concealed inside.

Tests revealed the packages contained almost a kilo of cocaine with an estimated UK street value of around £137,000.

Officers from the National Crime Agency’s Border Policing Command charged Downer with attempting to import a controlled drug.

He pleaded guilty and on Monday 10 February a judge at Croydon Crown Court, taking into account previous convictions for drug importation, possession and robbery, sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Border Force South regional director, Carole Upshall, said:

This was a sophisticated and professional concealment, but it shows that it doesn’t matter how hard you try to hide drugs, Border Force officers are experts at finding them.

We are at the forefront of the fight to stop illegal drugs and other contraband crossing our border.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.