[01/03/2004] Angela Day shopping bags and groceries. Pic : Siphiwe Sibeko

Thakeng, Free State - Two men who tried to smuggle groceries worth half a million rand to illegal miners underground in the Free State have been arrested, police said on Thursday.

Captain Stephen Thakeng said the men approached security guards at a mine on Tuesday offering them a bribe of R10 000 if they successfully helped them take the groceries underground.

“The Hawks in Welkom organised a trap with the permission of the directorate of public prosecution,” he said.

Thakeng said police arrested the two men, aged 25 and 35 years, and seized various goods during the operation at the ARM number three mine shaft in Welkom, at 11pm on Tuesday.

The seized goods include a Nissan bakkie, 1.7 tons of 1kg packets of Ace Instant Porridge, 169 packets of 1kg Ellis Brown Creamer, 232 pressed loaves of brown bread and 234 fingers of dagga.

They also included 514 bottles of 500ml cool drinks, 126 tins of bully beef and 96 tins of chakalaka.

Thakeng said the two men would appear soon in the Welkom Magistrate's Court on charges of conspiracy, enticement, attempted theft of gold-bearing material, possession of dagga and corruption. - Sapa