Liverpool

Merseyside man jailed for smuggling drugs in model plane

Steven Thornton Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Steven Thornton was arrested after calling at a property to collect a package of drugs

A man who tried to smuggle cocaine into the UK inside a model aeroplane has been jailed for three and a half years.

Steven Thornton, from St Helens, Merseyside, was arrested after customs officers at Stansted Airport intercepted a crate from Venezuela.

Cocaine was also found at properties linked to the 42-year-old, which, along with the model plane drugs, had a street value up to £25,000.

He admitted conspiracy to supply drugs in August at Liverpool Crown Court.

The crate had been sent from a fictional person at an address in Caracas and was destined for another fictional person in St Helens, Merseyside Police said, before it was intercepted in April 2014 by the UK Border Force.

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Drugs were found within the wings of the replica plane

Officers found a number of sections for a large wooden model glider, with a large quantity of cocaine and bulking agents within the wings.

It was passed onto Merseyside Police who placed a substitute model inside the crate before delivering it to its destination.

Thornton, of Norton Grove, Thatto Heath, was arrested when he called at the property to collect the package.

Officers then searched various addresses linked to him and found a quantity of cocaine and drugs paraphernalia in a garage in St Helens.

Det Insp Simon Draco said: "Merseyside Police treats all drug production and supply seriously and the sentencing of Thornton today will have disrupted the supply of drugs to our communities."

Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption The crate, which was sent from Caracas, was intercepted at Stansted Airport

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