A MAN has been jailed after he attempted to smuggle £1.5m of heroin into the country.

Andrew Harrison (32), formerly of Hexham but now of Mountside Gardens, Dunston, in Gateshead, appeared at Canterbury Crown Court and was sentenced on Thursday.

He pleaded guilty to being concerned with the evasion of the prohibition on the importation of class-A drugs, and was sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison.

The charge related to an attempt to smuggle 15 kilograms of heroin, with a street value of £1.5m, into the country via the Channel Tunnel on March 9, 2017.

Harrison attempted to hide the drugs in the back of a lorry he was driving, which contained a legitimate load of frozen food.

Officers searching the trailer found 15 brown packages in the trailer’s fifth wheel area, which was later confirmed to be heroin.

Harrison’s brother, Glen Harrison (38) of Beaminster Way, Newcastle, also appeared at Canterbury Crown Court, but denied two counts of being concerned with the evasion of the prohibition on the importation of class-A drugs.

Following a trial, Glen Harrison was acquitted of both charges on February 11.

The second allegation against Glen Harrison related to an incident on November 21, 2016, when Lee Hartness (47) from Carlisle, who also has links Newcastle as well as Northern Ireland, attempted to smuggle £7.2m of cocaine into the UK.

Following an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA), Hartness was charged with importing class-A drugs.

A summons was issued in August last year for Hartness to attend court, but he failed to appear at the hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is currently on the run.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Hartness should contact the National Crime Agency on (0370) 4967622.