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Two convicted after plot to smuggle drugs from France

Two men have been convicted of taking part in a plot to smuggle Class A drugs across the Channel.

David Manser, of Lunsford Lane, Larkfield, Maidstone, and Giedrius Kavaliauskas, of Worthing, Sussex, had denied conspiracy to smuggle drugs.

Paul Proud, 47, of Lewisham, south east London, also denied the charge and was acquitted.

Manser, 26, and 28-year-old Kavaliauskas were remanded in custody and will be sentenced on May 1 with Nicholas Chappell, of New Hythe Lane, Larkfield, Neil Hackett, of Bexleyheath, and his brother Jamie Hackett, of Thamesmead, south east London, who admitted the charge.

Maidstone Crown Court heard that Chappell, 33, Neil Hackett, 33, and Jamie Hackett, 25, were the main organisers.

All six were arrested after cocaine worth up to £70,000 was landed on a beach in Hythe on March 27 last year.

Police had been alerted by a witness who had seen an inflatable boat arrive early in the morning.

Alan Kent QC said Chappell and the Hackett brothers used the rigid-hulled boat to bring the drug into the country from France.

Waiting on the shore at Princes Parade, near the Imperial Hotel, was the "manpower", including Proud, Manser and Kavaliauskas, to collect the cocaine.

Mr Kent said a package containing just under a kilo of the drug at 85 per cent purity was smuggled. The boat was dismantled, put in a hired van and driven away by Manser.

The cocaine was loaded into a car and taken off ready for distribution to dealers.

Officers went to Chappell’s home and found the van close by. Before searching his house he told them there was a kilo of cocaine on top of a kitchen unit.

A holdall containing £31,000 was seized from the kitchen floor.

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