Painting of footballer Emmanuel Adebayor used to smuggle cannabis
Thursday 06 January 2011
Devious drug smugglers tried to conceal cannabis worth almost £3,000 in a painting of footballer Emmanuel Adebayor.
The wooden framed picture was seized by border officials as it passed through the international postal hub in Coventry from the footballer's native Togo.
Their suspicions may have been raised because the painting of the former Arsenal star was addressed to a home in Tottenham, the team's north London arch rival.
Details of the ambitious trafficking scam and several others were revealed by UK Border Agency today to highlight the cunning ploys of drug traffickers.
Officials intercepted stashes of drugs hidden in bottles of Baileys, woven baskets, packets of peanuts and even yams that had been opened and glued back together.
Other dodgy parcels included glass ornaments in which air pockets had been stuffed with cocaine and a Belfast-bound birthday card holding cocaine worth £40,000.
Brodie Clark, head of Border Force, said the concealed drugs were all found during searches at ports, airports and postal sorting depots last year.
He said: "These smuggling attempts show the lengths that organised criminals will go to in a bid to get drugs into the UK.
"Criminals are prepared to invest large sums of money to come up with ever better concealment methods because they know the potential profits from the awful trade in harmful drugs are considerable.
"However, the smugglers are no match for the skill of our officers and the state-of-the-art technology at their disposal."
Border staff use a range of methods and specialist equipment to detect drugs being smuggled into Britain.
Sniffer dogs are trained to identify certain drugs and cash while x-ray machines can reveal unusual luggage or parcels.
A low-dose radiation body-scanner can be used to detect whether mules have swallowed or stashed packets of drugs.
Officials also act on tip-offs from members of the public, criminal informants and other law enforcement agencies around the world.
Mr Clark added: "Our most important weapon in the fight against drug smuggling is intelligence.
"I would urge anyone with information that might be useful to the UK Border Agency to phone our hotline on 0800 59 5000."
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