'IT'S UNDER THE SEAT' Drug courier with £1m worth of gear in car spills guts during police stop


A HAUL of Class A drugs worth about £1m was found after Essex Police officers stopped a car and the driver told them to "look under the seat."

Charlie Lancaster, 38, was driving a black Renault Master van on the A13 at Stanford-le-Hope on Tuesday February 22 when he was stopped by roads officers as part of a routine operation.

When he got out of the vehicle, he was asked if there was anything in the vehicle that officers should be aware of, to which he replied: “Well, look, yeah. There is some stuff in there - under the seat.”

When the vehicle was searched, officers found nine 1kg blocks of cocaine and heroin.

Drug experts found the blocks in their current state would be valued at least £300,000. When sold on the street, experts said the drugs would be worth significantly more than £900,000.

Lancaster, of Woodcroft, Harlow, was then arrested on suspicion of a number of offences.

He was subsequently questioned on his knowledge of the drugs and where he had picked them up and where they were going.

He told officers he had been paid £100 to transport the items and had no idea what they were. Officers did not believe this and put it to him that he knew what he was transporting, and he had been paid £1,000 to do so.

Lancaster was charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply heroin and possession of criminal property.

He admitted the charges at Southend Crown Court on March 24 and was sentenced at the same court on Tuesday 10 May.

He was handed a total of six years in jail. The drugs and cash were seized and have been destroyed.

Detective Sergeant Leo Fordham, of our Serious and Organised Crime Unit, led our investigation.

He said: “This was a sizeable seizure of drugs which were undoubtedly destined for the streets of Essex.

“We know all too well the harm that drugs cause, both to those who take them and those involved in the supply of them.

“People such as Lancaster and his associates do not see that; they see preying on vulnerable people as an opportunity to make money and further their own interests.”

He added: “Thankfully, we have been able to seize a significant amount of Class A drugs and they have been destroyed and Lancaster will spend an appropriate amount of time in jail for his part in the operation.”

Essex Police has a number of teams dedicated to tackling drugs and the high harm they cause in our community including our Disruptor and Op Raptor teams as well as our Serious and Organised Crime Unit.