Essex: Cocaine haul discovered at Stansted Airport concealed in oil paintings

COCAINE worth about �10,000 was sezied by border officials after attempts to smuggle the stash into the UK, hidden in a series of oil paintings.

The 20mgs of cocaine had been concealed inside five abstract oil paintings, flown into Stansted Airport from Colombia.

Sarah Wolstenholme, UK Border Agency assistant director at Stansted Airport, said: “It was the smell that initially alerted officers to the possibility that the paintings were more than they seemed.

“Further examination revealed that the smugglers had covered the canvases with a layer of cocaine and then literally painted over the drugs.”

The paintings, each measuring 25cm by 30cm, were destined for an address in south west London.


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They arrived at Stansted on April 14 and were listed as shirts and paints, with a value of $1.

Investigations into the shipment are today continuing.

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Ms Wolstenholme added: “Criminals are prepared to go to elaborate lengths to get drugs into the UK – even relatively small amounts like this.

“The challenge for us is to stay one step ahead of the organised gangs behind this vile industry. Our highly skilled officers embrace that, working tirelessly and using the latest technology to protect the UK.”

Anyone with information that might help the UK Border Agency with their inquiries should call the hotline on 0800 59 5000.

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