Fruit hid £34m of cocaine

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COCAINE with a street value of £34 million was found hidden in boxes of pineapples being unloaded at a Brandon industrial site.

Police only found out about the drugs operation after they were tipped off by former drug addict and prostitute Theresa Kennedy, a court heard.

She had been the partner of nine years of Terrance Smith, 57, from Ethelreda Drive, in Thetford, but reported him to Crimestoppers when he told her how he would soon have £3.3 million and leave her with nothing.

Smith has already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply class A drugs, a jury at Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Frederick Colverson, 56, of Galsworthy Avenue, in Tower Hamlets, London, who denies conspiracy to supply drugs between May 1, 2010 and November 1, 2011, has been on trial this week.

Prosecutor David Holborn said police waiting at Highbury Road in Brandon at 8.50pm on October 31 last year, saw Smith, Colverson and a lorry from Felixstowe docks arrive at Smith’s 24/7 Import and Export (Europe) business.

The shipment from Costa Rica contained 1,500 boxes of pineapples. Some of the boxes had false bottoms and contained packets of cocaine.

“There were found to be 174 kilos of cocaine with a street value in the region of £34 million. I think that is, in anyone’s view, a lot of cocaine,” said Mr Holborn.

Colverson said he had no connection to the business or the drugs.

“He told police that he received incapacity benefit and he tries to make some money by buying and selling used cars,” Mr Holborn said.

But he said Colverson’s lifestyle was inconsistent with his income, which included buying boats and motorbikes.

Paperwork linking Colverson to the business was found, as was £3,600 in his car and £2,000 in his home, while Colverson was also found to have 11 mobile phones – one of which only had Smith’s number listed in the contacts, said Mr Holborn.

The trial continues.