Kent

Toilet arrest pilot guilty of cocaine plot

John Buwalda (left) and Jan Polak Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption John Buwalda (left) and Jan Polak will be sentenced in February

A trouserless Dutch pilot arrested in a hotel toilet has been convicted along with his accomplice of smuggling cocaine worth £2.4m into the UK.

John Buwalda and Jan Polak were found guilty of plotting to smuggle the Class A drugs using a light aircraft following a trial at the Old Bailey.

They were arrested near Rochester Airport in Kent shortly after flying from the Netherlands on 30 June.

Both will be sentenced in February and were told to expect long jail terms.

'Sitting on the toilet'

Polak, 61, a Polish national living in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, was arrested outside a Holiday Inn carrying 48lb (22kg) of cocaine.

Buwalda, 52, from Hilversum, was then found in a bathroom in the hotel by National Crime Agency (NCA) officers.

NCA officer Jim McMorrow told the trial Buwalda "was sitting on the toilet. He had a white top on and his trousers were by his legs".

Image copyright National Crime Agency
Image caption Buwalda landed his light aircraft at Rochester airfield on 30 June

Buwalda told officers he worked for the Chinese Europe Medical Post Grad Academy, which trained dentists.

He is said to have told officers he flew the academy's Piper Alpha aircraft into the UK on 30 June to network at the University of Greenwich, but admitted he spoke to no-one at the university beforehand.

The Old Bailey heard he transported the drugs in red metal boxes which he claimed were wing weights used to prevent gusts of wind from lifting the wings while the aircraft is on the ground.

He said he took them into the hotel to "show off and look the part of a pilot".

Polak claimed he worked for a cosmetics company and denied knowing the packages contained illegal drugs.

He claimed he had been approached by an unknown man in London who asked him to deliver a parcel in exchange for money.

The drugs were handed over inside Buwalda's hotel room.

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