A WIGAN man has been jailed for seven years after trying to smuggle £1.5m of heroin into Britain hidden inside a high performance car.
Jeffrey Green was caught red-handed at the port of Dover after eagle-eyed Border Agency staff examined the MG he was driving and discovered that bolts fixing the petrol tank in place had been tampered with.
Further investigation discovered the fuel reservoir had been modified to make it much smaller than standard, and in the rest of the space was concealed 22kg of the class A drug in 43 packets.
A senior agency source today suggested that the crime for which the 53-year-old was convicted was just the tip of the iceberg, officers suspecting he had made the best part of 60 such continental trips before he was caught.
Canterbury Crown Court heard that when officers searched Green’s home in Newark Street, Springfield, they found two other MGs which had been subjected to similar petrol tank adaptations.
Green pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import drugs, and as well as receiving a seven-year prison term, was also banned from travelling abroad for three years once he is released.
Judge Adele Williams said that Green had played a “significant role” in the trafficking.
Tomorrow his co-accused and old school pal Paul Gleeson will face sentencing at the same court after he, too, admitted importing drugs.
At yesterday’s hearing the 51-year-old, from St Matthew’s Close, Highfield, was named as the man who bankrolled Green’s smuggling operation.
The court was told that after Green’s arrest, officials seized his mobile and discovered that Gleeson had been telephoning him just as he arrived at customs.
Prosecutor Christopher May added: “The investigation showed that the finance had been facilitated by Gleeson.
“The Crown say he played a significant role as financier.
“This defendant was present when the vehicles were bought and he rented a lock-up facility in the name of Green but giving his own address.”
Gleeson, father of former Wigan Warriors and current Salford Reds star Sean, had been given a six-year jail sentence in October 1997 at Manchester Crown Court for conspiring to smuggle cannabis from Cambodia into the UK hidden in furniture.
He is currently remanded in custody awaiting sentence.