TWO next door neighbours from a Somerset town have been jailed for their part in importing 3,551 ecstasy tablets hidden in soup tins.

A package containing the five drug-filled cans which were destined for the county, were intercepted at Coventry Airport.

Ricardo Guerreiro, 30, of 8 Ile Court, Ilminster, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the fraudulent evasion of a prohibition on the importation of a class A drug and being concerned in an offer to supply a class A drug and was jailed for four years at Taunton Crown Court last Wednesday.

Neil Francis, 45, from 7 Ile Court admitted possession with intent to supply and was handed a suspended sentence last Thursday.

The convictions follow an investigation by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU).

The package, originally marked for an address in Chard, was stopped by Border Force in June 2019.

It was turned away by the homeowner and taken to a parcel depot where Guerreiro unsuccessfully tried to claim it.

The delivery address was later changed online to 7 Ile Court, where Francis was arrested after signing for the parcel. Guerreiro was arrested two months later.

In total, the tablets had a street value of around £35,000.

Detective Inspector Adrian Hawkins, from SW ROCU, said: “This comes on the back of a case earlier in the year where a woman who tried to import £1million worth of crystal meth disguised in toy figures and coffee beans was jailed. Again, Border Force intercepted the parcel and we investigated those behind the importation attempt.

“Cases like this demonstrate that this kind of criminality crosses international borders and, by working with our partners, we’re determined to do all we can to disrupt the criminal networks involved in drug supply and distribution and protect people in the South West.”