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Brighton Pride parade led by Gatwick Airport for 2nd year in a row

150 members of Gatwick staff joined the airport’s branded bus to lead the parade at the UK’s biggest Pride event which more than 300,000 people participated in.

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London Gatwick led the Community Parade at Brighton Pride festival over the weekend, as more than 300,000 people participated in the city-wide celebration of diversity in the community.

For the second year in a row as a sponsor of the event’s Community Parade, Gatwick’s branded bus led the parade through the city alongside 150 members of staff from the airport.

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The LGBTQ+ community event has become the UK’s biggest Pride festival and the theme this year was ‘Colour My World’. It celebrated the 40th anniversary of the rainbow flag’s original eight colours of pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, representing: sexuality, life, healing, sun, nature, art, harmony and spirit.

As the number of international visitors to Brighton Pride has continued to grow over recent years, so too has Gatwick’s long haul route network, which currently provides 67 long haul routes to and from countries as diverse as China, the USA, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Brighton Pride is also just one of a wide variety of local events Gatwick has sponsored this summer, having also partnered with: the Brighton Marathon Weekend, The Big Bang STEM Fair in Ardingly, Crawley High Street Live, Horley Carnival and Gatton Park Fair.

Gatwick also demonstrated its support for Pride by changing the profile images across all of its widely followed social media channels, to reflect the Pride Rainbow flag.

Gatwick Airport’s Head of Community Engagement, Alison Addy, said:

“Gatwick enjoys close links with the Brighton community and as one of the largest employers in the region we are excited to celebrate the diversity that reflects our workforce and our local community. 

As an organisation Pride plays an important role bringing together both the local community and the wider LGBTQ+ community and we are proud that it forms such a prominent part in Gatwick’s community engagement programme.” 

Crime

Two jailed after attempt to smuggle 8.5kgs of cocaine through Gatwick

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK”, says Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South.

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The drugs, which had been wrapped in plastic and hidden inside boxes marked ‘rum’, weighed approximately 8.5kgs.

Two men from Barbados are facing a total of 13 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle an estimated 8.5kgs of cocaine into the UK.

On 1 September, Border Force officers stopped 62-year-old Grantley Herbert Thompson, and 30-year-old Jamal Ricardo Walcott, in the customs channels at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Both had arrived on a flight from Barbados.

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During a search of their baggage officers discovered a white powder, wrapped in green plastic, and hidden inside boxes marked rum. The powder was subsequently tested and gave a positive reaction to the field test for cocaine. The cocaine had an estimated street value of £535,000.

Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South said:

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK and I commend the Border Force officers whose work ensured that Thompson and Walcott are now behind bars.

“Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies. They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.

“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

The case was referred to the NCA and Thompson and Walcott were charged with importation of a class A drug.

62-year-old Grantley Thompson.

On Thursday, 11 October the pair appeared at Croydon Crown Court where they admitted the smuggling attempt. Both were sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment immediately.

30-year-old Jamal Walcott.

The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.

It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

Nationally, they use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling

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