Heroin 'smuggled into UK hidden with pet cats on plane'

The drugs were found concealed in cat box compartments

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The Independent Online

A man has been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle heroin hidden in crates carrying pet cats.

The cats were being flown from South Africa to their waiting owners in the UK on 21 November when staff at Heathrow Airport noticed something a bit odd.

Even when the animals had been taken out of the cat boxes, they were still too heavy to be empty.

Border Force officers were called to the animal reception centre to inspect the crates and found packages of suspicious powder hidden in the carriers' wooden bases.

Tests showed it to be 15 kg of heroin, with a street value of more than £750,000.

Scott Parker, 43, was arrested as he arrived to collect the cats, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said.

Heroin was found hidden in the base of cat boxes at Heathrow

A dual British-South African national, he was born in London but now lives in Gauteng.

He was charged with importing a class A drug and appeared before Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 22 November, where he was remanded in custody until his next hearing on 4 December.

A spokesperson for the NCA said the cats were unharmed and are being reunited with their owners.

Paul Bolton, from the NCA’s Border Policing Command, said: “This was an unusual concealment and if sold in the UK the heroin would have had a value of in excess of £750,000.

“Working with Border Force we will continue to target those who attempt to bring illegal drugs into the UK and do damage to communities.”