Police recover cocaine, 'speed' worth R3.8m in raid on UK school
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A drugs bust at a leading public school netted a stash of cocaine and amphetamine worth more than £200 000 (approx. R3.8m).
Police found the drugs when they raided staff accommodation at the £21 000 (approx. R400 000)-a-year Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School.
Caretaker Justin Terry, 45, was arrested at the premises in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and was charged with conspiracy to supply class A and class B drugs and possession of cocaine with intent to supply.
Another man, Martin Walsh, 53, of Watford, was arrested in Liverpool. He faces the same charges and one of being in possession of criminal property, namely cash.
Officers found 7lb of cocaine and 33lb of amphetamines, or speed, at the school and a total of around £100 000 (R1.9m) in cash was also seized during the operation. Both men have been remanded into custody. A pre-trial hearing will take place on December 2.
Haberdashers’ Aske’s was founded in 1690 and educates boys aged five to 18. It often tops results league tables and sends 15% of pupils to Oxford or Cambridge. Former pupils include actor Sacha Baron Cohen, historian Simon Schama and ex Cabinet office minister Sir David Lidington.
Terry has been suspended and excluded from the grounds while the investigation continues. He was living alone at a three-bedroom terraced house set behind gates at the entrance to the school’s grounds.
Friends of Terry said they found it hard to believe he would be involved in drug crime. One said: "This has come as such a shock. He’s been at the school for 16 years. He loves his job and the school thinks the world of him".
Another friend said: "Nothing is too much trouble. He was probably the hardest working of all the caretakers". Members of Walsh’s family declined to talk. The raids on October 31 were carried out as part of Operation Relentless, set up by Hertfordshire Constabulary to tackle organised crime.
A force spokesman said the school had been ‘fully supportive’ of the investigation and added: "The force is committed to relentlessly pursuing individuals and networks involved in organised crime".
A school spokesman said: "A member of our non-teaching staff has been charged on drugs-related offences. Police have confirmed the alleged offences do not relate in any way to other members of the school community".