Lewisham man and three others sentenced after £700,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis smuggled into UK

Posted By on 13th December 2015

Left to right: David Fox, Stephen Chambers, David Rowe and Gordon Wilkie

Left to right: David Fox, Stephen Chambers, David Rowe and Gordon Wilkie


Four members of an organised crime network – including one man from Lewisham – have been sentenced to 22 years in prison after an estimated £700,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis was smuggled into the UK.

Stephen Chambers, 45, from Brighton, was sentenced in relation to an offence in January 2013, in which he organised the importation of 46kg cannabis into the UK, hidden in a container of fruit that originated in Ghana.

He was assisted by David Rowe, 53, of Overcliff Road, Lewisham, who used his contacts in Ghana to facilitate the importation.
The men were under surveillance by the NCA when the drugs, which had a potential street value of almost £200,000, were intercepted by Border Force officers from a container at Tilbury Docks, Essex on January 13 2013.

The container was released to Chambers, who was unaware the drugs had been seized and had arranged for it to be delivered to Brighton on January 28 2013.

NCA officers then watched Chambers and a third man, Gordon Wilkie, 40, from Brighton, unloading the container and discarding the fruit by the side of the road, when they eventually realised it was empty of drugs.

Meanwhile Chambers and David Fox, 65, also from Brighton, attempted to smuggle 4kg of cocaine – which if cut and sold in the UK would have had a potential street value of over £500,000 – into Gatwick Airport in September 2012

Fox, a Gatwick baggage handler at the time, was using his access to the transfer shed area of the airport to remove drugs from suitcases and smuggle them out among his own belongings.

Both men pleaded guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence.

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  1. The cocaine

    Fox, Chambers and Rowe were sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on Friday December 4 to four, 12, and three-and-a-half years respectively.

    Wilkie was sentenced alongside them to 30 months in prison.

    Fox is currently serving a 10 year sentence for attempting to import 12kg of cocaine into Gatwick Airport in May 2013 and a further 5kg in June 2013.

    He will serve his four year sentence consecutively and will therefore serve a total of 14 years in prison.

    Brendan Foreman, the NCA’s regional head of investigations, said: “These men thought they could operate under the law enforcement radar and profit from their criminal activities – like many before them, they were wrong.

    “The NCA will continue to work with Border Force and other partners to help strengthen the border and to stop illegal drugs getting into the UK.”

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    Mark Kennedy, assistant director, Border Force Central Region, said: “Border Force officers are on the frontline in the fight against drug traffickers at both ports and airports.

    “We will continue to work alongside the police and National Crime Agency to disrupt the activities of criminals and put them before the courts.”

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