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12 years for £3.8m drug smuggler

A lorry driver has been jailed for 12 years for smuggling around £3.8 million-worth of heroin, cocaine and ecstasy into the country.

Charlie Tomlinson, 31, was arrested at Dover's Eastern Docks in Kent by UK Border Agency officers who scanned his vehicle and noticed an anomaly in the roof of the trailer.

They searched the lorry and trailer on August 2 last year, which was loaded with pickled onions, and found drugs hidden in the space between the inner and outer roof of the trailer, said a Border Force spokeswoman.

Tomlinson, of Melbourne Avenue, Chelmsford, Essex, was found guilty of smuggling class A drugs into the UK, following a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

The Border Force spokeswoman said Tomlinson smuggled an estimated 23kg of heroin, valued at £2.1 million, 10kg of cocaine, valued at £1.7 million, and 23,000 ecstasy tablets worth £71,000.

Malcolm Bragg, from Border Force, said: "This was sophisticated drugs concealment and shows the lengths criminals will go to in attempting to evade the UK's border controls. The sentence handed down today should act as a warning to those who attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into this country.

"Drug use destroys not only the lives of individual users but also their families and the wider community."

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to drug smuggling can visit or phone 0800 595 000.

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