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Police hunt air coolers used to smuggle £1.5m worth of heroin

DETECTIVES investigating a failed attempt to smuggle more than £1.5m worth of heroin into the UK by hiding it within the packaging of several air coolers, want the industry to help find more of the units.
Police hunt air coolers used to smuggle £1.5m worth of heroin
In July 2007, a consignment of class A drugs was intercepted by customs officers based at Birmingham Airport. The heroin was concealed around the packaging of adiabatic air coolers bound for a freight forwarding company in the West Midlands. In total thirty packages of heroin weighing almost 30 kilos were seized.

Detective Inspector David Sandall said he believed a further 17 units came into the UK via the same route in the months before the drug bust.

The police have since recovered eight of the 19 units and are keen to find the remaining 11 units.

'While we don't believe that the remaining units will still contain drugs, we do believe they are vital evidence in this extremely complex investigation', he said.

Investigators would not disclose the name of the units' manufacturer.

Case officer DC Kevin Hames said 'We are in the process of contacting the manufacturer to notify them. We hope they can identify who the units were originally sold to'.

Each of the adiabatic air-coolers have been valued at between £2,000-£5,000.

Police say the units could have been dumped or sold for scrap. They have not ruled out the possibility that the units have been sold on. Police believe the missing units are in the Midlands area.

DC Hames said 'It may be that this equipment has been innocently purchased or stored by someone. If anyone within the industry has any information however small which may help to locate the remaining 11 air coolers, they must contact us'.

In total 15 men and three women from Leicester, Birmingham and London have been arrested in connection with the investigation. All have since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact DC Kevin Hames or the Operation Oscillate team on (0116) 222 2222.

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