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Man tried to smuggle drugs into the UK after Netherlands Christmas shopping trip with wife

A man has been found guilty of attempting to smuggle cocaine with an estimated street value of £160k into the UK after a “Christmas shopping” trip with his wife in the Netherlands.

The National Crime Agency investigated after a van hired by Sean Hart, 40, from Newcastle, was stopped at the Eurotunnel controls in Coquelles, France in December 2016.

On 19 December, Hart had travelled to Eersel in the Netherlands,  later telling officers the trip had been to buy Christmas presents, as well as to collect a motorcycle and parts for his family’s hobby of international motocross racing.

After stopping the van on its return journey to the UK, Border Force officers discovered two packages of cocaine weighing a total of 2kg concealed in the dashboard. The cocaine would be worth an estimated £60k at wholesale and £160k at street level.

Hart was arrested and later charged.

On 27 July, Sean Hart was convicted of importing a class A drug after a seven day trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

He is due to be sentenced on 15 September at the same location.

A second defendant was found not guilty after the same trial. 

NCA Operations Manager Julie Booker said: “This was a blatant attempt to smuggle illegal drugs into the UK under the guise of travelling to do his Christmas shopping. Not only was Sean Hart prevented from making money from importing class A drugs, he now faces the prospect of prison time.

“Illegal drugs are at the root of considerable violence and exploitation. We will continue to work with partners like Border Force to keep our communities safe by preventing class A drugs from entering the country.”

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