Britons jailed in Ghana after £80m cocaine haul

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A court in Ghana sentenced four British men to 20 years in prison with hard labour yesterday, after they were found guilty of plotting to smuggle more than half a ton of cocaine into the UK.

Kevin Gorman, 59, born in Trimdon Grange, near Durham, David Logan, 54, from Warrington, Cheshire, Frank Laverick, 44, from Cleethorpes, Lincs, and Alan Hodgson, 46, from Easington, Co Durham, were found guilty of conspiracy and possession, along with a German and a Ghanaian.

They were arrested in January after police seized £80m worth of cocaine hidden behind a mirror at Gorman's home in the port city of Tema near the capital Accra.

A Customs and Excise spokesman said intelligence showed all of the cocaine was destined for Britain. An official at the Narcotics Control Board in Ghana said the seizure was "the largest in our part of Africa". The raid was the culmination of a two-year intelligence operation led by British customs officers. Spanish police also contributed, together with officials from the Ghanaian Narcotics Control Board.

The raid came after Customs officers received intelligence suggesting the principal members of the gang had imported the cocaine into Ghana and had travelled there to arrange for it to be shipped to the UK.

An official at the Narcotics Control Board described Gorman, who was general manager of fishing company Tuna-To-Go, as the ringleader. Logan and Gorman were living in Ghana, while Laverick was believed to have been residing in Spain.

Pronouncing the judgment in Ghana's High Court, Judge Kusi Appiah described the six as "grand-masters in the drug business". A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We have given them all appropriate consular assistance."

They defence lawyer, Kwabla Senanu, said he would appeal against what he termed "harsh" sentences.