Two Northampton men charged with smuggling £5 million worth of heroin into the UK using Dutch connections were arrested after one confessed his involvement to police, a court heard.
Jason Chisholm and Robert Lovatt are accused of bringing at least 40kg of the class A drug into the UK between June and August, 2015.
Chisholm, 42, of Military Road, near the town centre, and Lovatt, 62, of Pembrooke Gardens, Spencer, both face charges of evading custom laws by importing the heroin, as well as being involved in a conspiracy to supply the drug.
Johannes Woltering, 43, of an unknown address in the Netherlands, faces charges of conspiring to import class A drugs and conspiring to supply them as part of the gang.
The three men faced the first day of a trial at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, in which prosecutor James House QC opened the case against the men.
He said: “This is actually quite simple - it’s about drug smuggling - and it’s about the selling on of those drugs once they have been brought into the country.”
Mr House QC said the men imported a “significant amount” of heroin on two occasions between June and August, 2015.
“The first time they did they were successful,” he said. “The second time they were stopped and arrested. That heroin didn’t reach our streets.”
Mr House QC said that was because, on August 5, 2015, Chisholm phoned a police officer to tell him of his involvement with the gang.
“He said he had got himself involved in the importation of a large quantity of class A drugs,” the prosecutor told the court. “He didn’t want anything to do with it and he wanted out.”
That phone call was to tell the officer of the most recent import of heroin - the 40kg - which had a street value of around £5 million. It led to the arrest of the three men alongside two others who have already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy. One of the men was Mr Lovatt’s son Robert, and
the other was Johannes Woltering, of the Netherlands.
But Chisholm had failed to tell police that the gang had already “smuggled one load into the country,” Mr House QC said.
The three men deny the charges.
The trial, expected to last 10 days, continues.