A corrupt British border officer who tried smuggling guns and drugs into the UK through the Channel Tunnel while on duty, has been jailed for 23 years today.
Simon Pellett, 37, and two accomplices were captured after officers in a joint intelligence operation identified members of an international syndicate importing arms and narcotics on the Eurotunnel Shuttle ferry service.
Investigators believe the trio played a key part in a wider organised criminal network responsible for smuggling drugs and firearms into the UK.
Pellett along with fellow gang members Alex Howard, 35, and David Baker, 55, were observed by police in both the UK and France.
Pistols and silencers were among the firearms recovered by the cross-border investigation
On October 6 2017, Pellet went to his place of work and collected an official Border Force van.
He then drove alone and took the channel tunnel to France.
But he was totally unaware the National Crime Agency had bugged his van – placing a listening device inside.
As he drove he was heard making arrangements to rendezvous with Howard and Baker in Loon Plage, between Calais and Dunkirk.
In an attempt to provide a cover story, Pellet went to a wine warehouse and bought some wine, placing this on show in the front of the van.
He drove further into France and went to a pre-arranged meeting point, a supermarket car park in Loon Plage.
Howard was waiting in the car park area while Baker placed three heavy holdalls into Pellet’s Border Force van.
Around 90lbs of drugs worth £3.4million were seized by the French police in Pellet’s van in France
National Crime Agency detectives had Howard (pictured) Pellet and Baker under surveillance
David Baker is caught on CCTV, he had driven his own car to Loon Plage, as he tried to transport guns and drugs
All three men were then arrested by French police.
The three holdalls were subsequently found to contain eight pistols, two revolvers, a large quantity of ammunition, 28 kilos of cocaine (with a street value of £2.8 million) and six kilos of heroin (with a street value of £600,000).
The drugs had a total street value of £3.4 million.
The firearms included self-loading and machine pistols, revolvers, silencers and suitable ammunition.
There was also ammunition suitable for a Scorpion sub-machine gun.
All three suspects were extradited from France to the UK on May 11 this year and went on trial which started last month at Isleworth Crown Court in South West London.
The joint intelligence-led operation included the Met Police’s Organised Crime Command, the National Crime Agency (NCA), and the Central Office for the Repression of Organised Crime of the French National Police (OCLCO).
Temporary Detective Chief Inspector Sam Cailes from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command said: ‘This has been a complex and highly-successful joint operation that has effectively removed a criminal network, which included a serving corrupt Border Force official.
‘We are committed to reducing the number of firearms entering the UK and potentially ending up in the hands of violent criminals.
Eight automatic pistols, two revolvers, three silencers and ammunition including a magazine for a Skorpion sub-machine gun were seized by police
The removal of these weapons and drugs has reduced a significant threat to London’s communities.’
Pellett, of Dover, Kent was found guilty on Monday of three counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of goods (cocaine, heroin and firearms) and misconduct in a public office.
He was jailed to 23 years and 115 days.
Baker, 55, of Eltham, south east London was also found guilty of three counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of goods (cocaine, heroin and firearms).
He was jailed for 20 years and 115 days.
Howard, 35, of Teynham, Kent was found guilty of two counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition on the importation of goods (cocaine and heroin).
He was jailed for 10 years and 115 days.