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11 May 2011, 13:10
Cocaine worth £10,000 has been found in paintings by UK Border Agency officers at Stansted Airport.
200 grams of the Class A drug was hidden in five abstract oil paintings that had been flown from Colombia.
Smugglers covered the canvasses with a layer of cocaine, then painted over the drugs.
UK Border Agency officers were alerted to the suspicious packages by the smell coming from them.
Sarah Wolstenholme, UK Border Agency Assistant Director at Stansted Airport, said: "Criminals are prepared to go to elaborate lengths to get drugs into the UK – even relatively small amounts like this.
The challenge for us is to stay one step ahead of the organised gangs behind this vile industry.
Our highly skilled officers embrace that, working tirelessly and using the latest technology to protect the UK."
The paintings, each 25cm by 30cm, were destined for an address in south west London and were listed as shirts and paints, with a value of $1.
Investigations into the shipment are continuing.