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Fugitive cocaine smuggler jailed

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who plotted to smuggle up to 40 tonnes of drugs worth £4 billion into the country, has been jailed for 14 years.

Paul Scott, 32, from Vauxhall, Liverpool, pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to conspiracy to import cocaine.

Scott had been on the run since 2010 and was captured last December when he returned to the UK from the Netherlands in a Cessna light aircraft which landed at the remote rural East Winch Airfield in Norfolk.

Passing sentence, Judge David Aubrey rejected his claim that he had come back to hand himself in and that he just wanted one more night with his family.

Scott was part of a 26-strong network which consisted of criminals from Liverpool and London working with overseas traffickers to import cocaine from South and Central America, along with heroin and amphetamine from Europe, said the National Crime Agency (NCA).

NCA officers used listening devices to monitor conversations between members of the network, carried out surveillance throughout the UK, and analysed masses of phone data.

Head of the network Paul Taylor, 58, from Liverpool, who was jailed for 22 years in 2011, told a criminal associate there was a stockpile of 40 tonnes of cocaine ready to smuggle inside shipments of tinned fish and wood pellets.

During another recorded conversation, Scott told Taylor that he and his cousin were able to provide transport for the network through a corrupt contact at a legitimate haulage firm.

NCA branch commander Greg McKenna said: "Scott was the last man outstanding in a plot to smuggle vast quantities of cocaine into the UK. Our determination to track him down and bring him to justice demonstrates our commitment to dismantling criminal networks from top to bottom."

Scott was also being sought by the Guardia Civil in Spain in connection with the murder of a British national.

The reportedly tortured body of Francis Brennan, 25, from Liverpool, who was on the run in Spain, washed up on the beach in Alicante last April after he was kidnapped by men posing as police officers.

Following today's hearing, Scott was arrested by Merseyside Police officers on a European Arrest Warrant.

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