A MAN who used a model plane to smuggle drugs into the country has been jailed.
Steven Thornton, of Norton Grove, Thatto Heath, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs after a crate containing the model glider was intercepted at Stansted Airport.
The crate had been sent from a fictional person at an address in Caracas, Venezuela and was destined for a fictional person at an address in St Helens but was intercepted at the airport in April 2014 by officers from the UK Border Force.
Officers examined the package and found a number of sections for a large model glider.
Enquiries revealed that hidden within the wings of the model glider sections was a large quantity of what was believed to be controlled drugs.
The plane was retrieved from Stansted Airport by Merseyside Police officers and a substitute model glider was placed back inside the crate.
Forensic examinations later found the drugs to be cocaine and bulking agents.
On April 9, 2014, the package was delivered to an address on Sherdley Road in the St Helens area.
Later that same day Merseyside Police officers executed a warrant at the address and when Thornton called at the property he was arrested.
Officers then conducted searches at addresses linked to Thornton and in a garage in St Helens found a quantity of cocaine and drugs paraphernalia.
Thornton’s DNA was recovered on the packaging of the drugs officers seized from his garage.
He was jailed for three-and-a-half years at Liverpool Crown Court today, Friday.
Detective Inspector 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.
“This took a significant amount of work by a number of officers, working in conjunction with our colleagues at the UK Border Force, to uncover this conspiracy and arrest the person responsible.
“Merseyside Police is committed to tackling the supply of drugs and will continue to proactively target dealers who think nothing of flooding the streets with drugs in order to line their own pockets and profit from other people’s misery.
“We will relentlessly pursue drugs suppliers and other organised crime groups on behalf of decent, law-abiding, hard-working members of the public who care about their community, and I would urge anyone who has information that could help us do that to please get in touch so that we can take action.
“If residents do know anyone who is dealing in their community they should continue to take a stand and make the streets of Merseyside safer.”
Anyone with information should call Merseyside Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.