Harwich: Dutch drivers jailed over £40m drugs plot

Drivers tried to smuggle drugs via Harwich and the Channel Tunnel

Drivers tried to smuggle drugs via Harwich and the Channel Tunnel - Credit: Andrew Partridge

THREE DUTCH lorry drivers who were involved in a plot to smuggle £40million of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, into the UK through Harwich and the Channel Tunnel have been given jail terms totalling more than 60 years.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that customs officers intercepted a huge haul including: 124 kilos of heroin worth £15m, 78 kilos of cocaine worth £12m, 116 kilos of amphetamine worth £12m, 101 kilos of cannabis resin, 16 kilos of skunk cannabis and one kilo of ecstasy tablets.

Patrick Lourenz, 48, and Marcus Luijten, 46, both of Holland, denied six charges of conspiring between November 1, 2011, and May 31, 2012, to illegally import heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine, cannabis resin and skunk cannabis into the UK and were found guilty by majority verdicts.

Luijten was jailed for 22 years and Lourenz was jailed for 18 years.

Alfons Van Puyenbroek, 58, of no fixed address, denied four charges of conspiring between the same dates to illegally import amphetamine, ecstasy, cannabis resin and skunk cannabis and was unanimously found guilty of all four offences. He had previously admitted conspiring to illegally import heroin and cocaine and was jailed for twenty three and a half years.

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Mark Seymour, prosecuting, said the three defendants were all lorry drivers and had worked for the same company.

The drugs had been smuggled into the country hidden in five specific importations over a seven month period in consignments of Christmas decorations, medical chairs, polystyrene, waffles and plaster which had come through Harwich or the Channel Tunnel.

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Four of the loads had been intercepted by customs officers and the drugs in the other load had been recovered by officers after they were contacted by staff at a company who had discovered them in a legitimate load that had been delivered to their premises.

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