Cleaner of Brit OAPs held over £2m cocaine bust ‘offered free cruise if she brought back suitcases from Caribbean’

THE CLEANER of the British OAPs held over a £2million cocaine bust said she was offered a free cruise of the Caribbean if she agreed to bring designer suitcases back to London to sell.

Roger, 72, and Sue Clarke, 70 — who live in Spain — are being held in cells in Lisbon, Portugal, after 9kg of cocaine was allegedly found hidden in false bottoms of their suitcases.

Susan and Roger Clarke, 70 and 72, are being held on suspicion of international drug smuggling

The couple’s cleaner Pauline Craven, 60, originally from Bolton, and hubby Paul, 64, turned down the offer to bring back suitcases to the UK.

She said: “That could so easily have been us.”

The expat added: “Roger told us he imported pineapples from the Caribbean to the UK in containers and said he wanted me on the ship to keep his wife company.”

Pensioner Clarke told pals he was banana importer – and whinged he had no cash when his last shipment from Jamaica went rotten.

Susan and Roger Clarke are accused of smuggling £2m of cocaine. Paul Craven said the pair befriended him and his cleaner wife Pauline
The cruise ship had visited the Caribbean on a 33-day journey before docking in Lisbon, Portugal

Friends say the OAP, 72, complained he needed to get hold of money “quickly” after his bananas failed “to get through”.

He then cheered up before disappearing on his Caribbean cruise.

But Roger and wife Sue were being held in cells in Lisbon, Portugal, yesterday after 9kg of cocaine was allegedly found hidden in false bottoms of their suitcases last week.

The keen golfer had previously openly bragged to a number of friends of being jailed for cigarette smuggling.

Shocked locals said they knew Roger had a “colourful” past but believed Sue was a harmless pensioner who played bingo twice a week.

One pal from Spain said: “Everyone round her knows Roger – he’s such a big drinker he’s always in the bars.

“No-one really minds because he’s such a diamond geezer.

“He told everyone his money came from importing fruit from Jamaica.

“It wasn’t a proper business as such, just something him and a mate did from time to time.

“He seemed to do quite well out of it. But he flew off the handle earlier this year, complaining one of his shipments of fruit had ‘gone rotten’ and didn’t make it through.

“It seemed to really panic him and he started talking about how he needed money quickly. He seemed really unhappy.

“Next thing we knew they had gone off on another cruise to the Caribbean.”

The Clarkes live in a two-storey villa on the quiet estate dominated by British ex-pats in Guardamar, near Alicante, Spain, with a communal pool.

They drive a Honda.


The cocaine was found in false bottoms of the British OAPs’ suitcases on a cruise ship[/caption]

They told how the pair moved in four years ago but regularly drove back to the UK to board cruises from Tilbury, Essex, because Roger refused to fly.

One resident: “I didn’t have a lot to do with them but in the bar he would say he’s done this, he’s done that.”

Friends told how Roger and Sue, 70, ditched original surname of Button after serving time for shipping illegal cigarettes in Switzerland.

It is understood they were convicted abroad but extradited back to the UK to serve their four year sentences.

Friends said Roger and Sue both had children from previous marriages.


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