Blackpool man who imported £26m heroin hidden in oven jailed for 24 years

Ian Graham Image copyright NCA
Image caption Ian Graham was brought to justice as a result of paying freight charges on the commercial oven concealing the heroin

A man who tried to sneak £26m of heroin hidden in an oven through Manchester Airport has been jailed for 24 years.

Ian Graham, of Raikes Parade in Blackpool, Lancashire denied conspiracy to import the Class A drug but was found guilty at Manchester Crown Court.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) believes it is the biggest haul of heroin ever seized at the airport.

Graham, 45, concealed the drugs in a commercial oven imported from Iran in April, the NCA said.

'Elaborate concealment'

UK Border Force officers stripped metal panels and rendering bricks at the rear of the oven and found more than 120 tape-wrapped packages, each containing about 1kg (2.2lbs) of heroin.

The NCA traced Graham paying freight charges for the shipment at a bank in Blackpool using a false name.

He drove to the airport freight centre in a hired van to collect the oven on 18 April, where he was arrested by NCA officers.

Emma Porter, deputy director of the UK Border Force in Manchester, said: "This was a substantial detection of heroin, the biggest Border Force has ever made at Manchester Airport.

"The smugglers had used an elaborate concealment in an attempt to circumvent border controls and the fact we were able to keep these Class A drugs off the streets of the UK, where they can do so much damage to communities, is a real testament to my officers' training and expertise."

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