A middle-aged cocaine smuggler, caught sneaking £257,000 worth of the drug - hidden inside two tins of tomatoes – through Gatwick Airport, has been jailed for four years.
Patrick Shorthouse, 53, of Chingley Close, Bromley had just stepped off a flight from Antigua when his luggage was searched by officers from the UK Border Agency.
He pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court (pictured) to importing 964 gms of cocaine on January 17.
The court heard Shorthouse, who is diabetic and suffers with high blood pressure, was tempted by the offer of a free ten-day holiday, plus £300 spending money.
His lawyer Keith Goodhand said: “There is a sense of disbelief as to where he finds himself,” adding his client has been in custody since his arrest.
“He is terrified of these proceedings and keeps his head down in prison.”
Shorthouse's wife passed away in January, last year and the court was told he turned to alcohol and cannabis, abusing both.
“He is a very lonely man. He did not know the weight or value of the consignment.”