Pair Jailed After Landmark Trial
Two men who made UK legal history after being convicted of a drugs-related offence even though the substances involved are not illegal have been jailed for eight years, police said.
Anthony Woodford, 23, and David Lewinson, 44, stood trial after Lewinson was found with 330lb (150kg) of crushed paracetamol and caffeine at Dover docks in Kent.
Although the substances are not illegal, investigators suspected they would be used as cutting agents for heroin, giving the Class A drug a street value of more than £5m.
The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate launched an investigation and identified Woodford as the organiser of the cross-Channel trip, which led on to what is believed to be a landmark prosecution.
The pair were charged under the Serious Crime Act 2007 with importing "a quantity of caffeine and paracetamol which was capable of encouraging or assisting... the supply of a controlled drug of Class A''.
At Canterbury Crown Court last month, a jury found Woodford, of Harlow, Essex, and Lewinson, of Colindale, north London, guilty of the offence.
Following sentencing at the same court today, Detective Sergeant Mat Scott, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "We believe this to be the first time in the UK that the prosecution were able to prove, beyond doubt, that the huge quantity of paracetamol and caffeine were intended to be used to cut with heroin.
"This has been a successful test case and therefore has set a precedent for this type of offence.
"The sentence given today will send a clear message to those involved in the importation and supply of drugs that we will relentlessly investigate when we feel that offences are being committed.''
Police said that Lewinson drove a white Volkswagen Caddy van out of Dover's Eastern Docks and on to a Dunkirk-bound ferry on April 20 last year.
But he was stopped by border officials when he tried to return a day later - and the ground blended powder was discovered. Both men were charged in February.