Former England cricketer held on remand

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The Independent Online

Former England cricketer Chris Lewis was further remanded in custody today after appearing in court charged with trying to smuggle cocaine with an estimated street value of £200,000 through Gatwick Airport.

All-rounder Lewis, 40, who played 32 Tests and 53 one-day internationals in the 1990s, spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth during a brief appearance alongside co-defendant Chad Kirnon.



The two men were arrested when UK Border Agency staff found nearly 9lb (4kg) of cocaine hidden in baggage which arrived on a flight from St Lucia at 6am last December 8.



The drug was in liquid form concealed in fruit tins and discovered as part of routine checks at the West Sussex airport.



Lewis and basketball player Kirnon, 26, were arrested after arriving on the flight together and questioned by Customs officials before being charged.



Lewis, of Bruce Road, Brent, north London, and Kirnon, of Carnegie Street, Islington, north London, appeared via video-link from HMP Highpoint at Mid Sussex Magistrates' Court in Haywards Heath.



Lewis has not entered a plea but Kirnon denies the charge of attempting to import cocaine.



No bail application was made and both defendants were remanded in custody to reappear at the same court on January 21 for a committal hearing to Croydon Crown Court.



Lewis, who was born in Guyana, claimed 93 wickets during his England Test career and finished with a Test batting average of 23.



He retired from county cricket in 2000 because of a persistent hip injury following spells with Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Surrey.



Last year he joined Surrey to play in Twenty20 matches, but had little success.



Nicky Brown, national leagues manager of England Basketball, said Kirnon was registered with the London Towers team in the 2005/06 season.



The team play in the English Basketball League second division, a lower-level amateur division.



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