Driver cleared after £25m of coke found in hospital lorry

A man accused of smuggling GBP25 million worth of cocaine into the UK in a lorry destined for a hospital has walked free. Belgian national Padmore Asamoah was accused of stashing Class A drugs among medical supplies in the back of his truck.

Some of the cocaine seized at Dover in recent months Some of the cocaine seized at Dover in recent months

The Belgian-registered van was stopped at Channel Tunnel border control in Coquelles, France, as it headed towards the UK in May this year. Border Force officers searching the van found an estimated 285kg of cocaine hidden among dry ice.

But now a judge at Maidstone Crown Court heard the Crown Prosecution Service was dropping the charge because it didn’t believe there was “a realistic” chance of a conviction at trial.

Asamoah had been charged with the attempted importation of a Class A drug. The stash was one of several destined for ours shores discovered on either side of the Channel in recent months.

A haul of 96kg was found inside a coach at Dover A haul of 96kg was found inside a coach at Dover

Last month a Bosnian lorry driver was jailed for smuggling 100kg of cocaine worth more than GBP7m into Kent. In June a Turkish national was jailed after a six-kilo haul worth GBP240,000 was found.

The month before a Lithuanian received a prison sentence for attempting to smuggle GBP1m of the drug into the country.

In November a Romanian trucker was jailed after GBP1m worth of the drug was found in his trailer. The month before a Maidstone man was jailed after 36 kilos of cocaine were found in his lorry-load of grapes. And last September 336 kilos worth GBP15m were discovered in a lorry and a coach at Dover.

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Courts Crime Kent Paul Hooper