Two drug smugglers are jailed for five years for trying to send £1million of cocaine to Australia by hiding it in books and using Harrods’ shipping service
- Glen Appleby and Marc Warner bought books and games at the London store
- Pair caught after staff noticed them hiding behind a shelf fiddling with books
- One book had been hollowed out and contained eight packages of class A drugs
A pair of smugglers tried to use Harrods to ship £1million of cocaine to Australia hidden in books.
Glen Appleby and Marc Warner bought books and computer games at the department store and paid to send them abroad using its shipping service.
A court heard how the pair were caught after staff noticed them hiding behind a shelf as they fiddled with a shopping bag of books.
A cashier became suspicious when Warner asked for two books – one called Mickey Mouse: The Ultimate History – to be shipped to Australia which he said he had just bought.
One of the books appeared to be in poor and tired condition, while the other had been bought from the store earlier that day.
A pair of smugglers tried to use Harrods to ship £1million of cocaine to Australia hidden in books
Upon closer inspection the two volumes, both large coffee table books, were found to have been hollowed out, and contained eight packages of the class A drugs.
The men were followed by store security staff who alerted police.
Detectives discovered the pair had attempted to exploit the Harrods shipping service to smuggle almost 8kg of 92 per cent pure cocaine with an estimated street value of just over £1million.
Appleby, 53, and Warner, 52, were jailed for five years each yesterday at Isleworth Crown Court. The court had heard that the smugglers were caught on camera visiting the store in Knightsbridge, west London, five times between January 15 and February 27, walking in seconds apart with Harrods shopping bags.
Each time they headed to the book department and hid behind a shelf. Staff raised suspicions during a trip on March 9 when they tried to send the two volumes containing the 8kg of cocaine.
Warner was seen taking items from the bag and giving them to Appleby who put them away in his pocket, before Warner approached the cashier asking for the books to be shipped abroad, paying by cash
Each time they headed to the book department and hid behind a shelf. Staff raised suspicions during a trip on March 9 when they tried to send the two volumes containing the 8kg of cocaine
Warner, a drug addict, also arose suspicions as he was visibly sweating in the store.
The pair admitted earlier that one of their attempts had been successful, when they managed to send five boxes of computer games with 12kg of cocaine worth £1.5million.
Detective Constable Colin Moore, of the Metropolitan Police’s Central West Gangs Unit, said: ‘Appleby and Warner were a small part of a sophisticated international drugs smuggling gang.
‘They sought to exploit the good name of a quintessential British brand in order to smuggle drugs into a lucrative Australian market.’
Appleby, of Chingford, east London, and Warner, of nearby Romford, admitted drug smuggling at an earlier hearing in August