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£160,000 cocaine seized by Border Force at Gatwick

An attempt to smuggle cocaine into the UK hidden inside a box of rum cakes has been prevented by Border Force officers at Gatwick Airport.

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Officers discovered the Class A drugs on the morning of Saturday, 24 November, when two passengers were stopped after arriving on a flight from Jamaica. The drugs, which had been concealed in a box of rum cakes within luggage, weighed approximately 4kgs and a full forensic analysis will now take place.

Tim Kingsberry, Director of Border Force South said:

“It is the job of Border Force to stay one step ahead of the smugglers who would look to bring dangerous drugs like this into the UK. Detections such as this are testament to Border Force officers’ expertise. In this case, the drugs seized were estimated to have a potential value of approximately £160,000 once cut and sold on the streets.

“Working with law enforcement colleagues like the National Crime Agency (NCA) we are determined to prevent drug trafficking and bring those responsible to justice.”

Following the seizure by Border Force, the investigation was passed to the NCA.

Two women, both Jamaican nationals, one resident in Birmingham and one from Wiltshire, have been released under investigation while NCA enquiries continue.

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 the hotline on 0800 59 5000.

Gatwick

Henry Smith MP: Reforming Air Passenger Duty

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about reforming air passenger duty to boost trade.

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One way for MPs to raise issues in Westminster is through All-Party Parliamentary Groups. These Groups typically contain members of the Commons and the Lords, and include parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.

I recently established and was elected to chair a new APPG on Air Passenger Duty Reform, which seeks to encourage the UK Government to cut the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD).

While the Government confirmed at the October 2018 Budget that short-haul APD rates will not rise for the eighth year in a row, keeping costs down for 80 per cent of passengers, there remains more to be done.

With the Band B long-haul rate scheduled to rise by £16 on 1st April 2019, reforming APD will help the UK compete on a level playing field with our European counterparts, boosting tourism, trade, jobs and growth.

The UK APD rate is the highest tax of its kind in the world. It is twice as high as the next highest, Germany. On long-haul flights it currently adds £78 to an economy ticket.

As we leave the European Union and look to forge a new identity for ourselves in the world as a global nation, it is critical we have a tax system that reflects that ambition.

With Gatwick Airport in the Crawley boundary, a significant reduction in the UK’s APD rate would signal to the world that Britain is open for business.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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