England

Border officer caught smuggling drugs and guns

Simon Pellett, David Baker and Alex Howard Image copyright CPS
Image caption (L-R) Simon Pellett, David Baker and Alex Howard will be sentenced on Friday

A corrupt UK border officer has been found guilty of attempting to smuggle firearms and drugs into the country.

Simon Pellett, from Dover, was on duty when he was arrested by French officers in October last year.

Jurors at Isleworth Crown Court heard he was caught with holdalls containing eight pistols, two revolvers, ammunition, and heroin and cocaine with a combined street value of £3.4m.

Pellett, 37, will be sentenced on Friday alongside two accomplices.

Det Ch Insp Sam Cailes, from the Met Police, described it as a "significant haul of weapons".

She said: "You would rarely see a haul of weapons this large. You've got a mixture of firearms here, with Class A drugs.

"It's very unusual to have all of those commodities together in one seizure."

Image copyright CPS
Image caption These items were loaded on to an unmarked Border Force van driven by Simon Pellett

The arrests were made following a joint investigation involving the National Crime Agency (NCA), Metropolitan Police and French police.

The NCA had placed a listening device in the work van Pellett collected from his office in Folkestone before he got on a Channel Tunnel shuttle service.

He was recorded making arrangements to meet other members of the crime group in Loon Plage, between Calais and Dunkirk.

Pellett met Alex Howard, 35, from Sittingbourne, and David Baker, 55, from Eltham, for a handover in a supermarket car park.

The two men had just placed three holdalls in the back of his van when French officers moved in to arrest them.

The firearms included self-loading and machine pistols, revolvers and silencers.

There was also ammunition for a submachine gun.

Image copyright NCA
Image caption French police discovered the drugs and weapons after a joint investigation with the National Crime Agency and Met Police

A spokesman for the NCA said investigators believe Pellett would have been paid about £20,000 for the smuggling run.

All three men were extradited from France back to the UK for trial.

On Monday, Pellett and Baker were found guilty of attempting to import firearms, heroin and cocaine.

Pellett was also found guilty of misconduct in a public office.

On Tuesday morning, Howard was found guilty of drug importation charges but cleared of the firearms charge.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites