Highbury man jailed for smuggling weed in grand piano

12:43 10 May 2012

The smugglers stashed drugs worth more than £400,000

The smugglers stashed drugs worth more than £400,000

Archant

A drug smuggler who stashed more than £400,000-worth of cannabis in a grand piano has been jailed for six years.

Evan Masson, 34, of Drayton Park, Highbury, arranged for the consignment to be shipped from his native South Africa to a disused warehouse.

The former sound engineer enlisted construction boss and fellow South African Brian Beangstrom, 60, of Wightman Road, Harringay, to help him transport the load.

But the pair were caught red-handed by customs officers as they prised open the piano crate at the warehouse in Hornsey last October.

The shipment – containing 143.9 kgs of the class B drug – had been under surveillance for a week after it was intercepted by UK Border Agency officials when it entered the UK through Felixstowe.

Defending Masson, Minka Braun said he lost his job at the London Music Studios in the recession, and was reduced to sleeping on his elder sister’s sofa when freelance work dried up. She said: “He accepts that his dire financial situation was the catalyst for finding himself involved in offending of this sort.” He planned to use some of the cash to travel to Australia to fight for custody of a son he had never met, she added.

Defending Beangstrom, Scott Ivill said his client believed until a late stage they were collecting a family heirloom, and was offered just £300 to help.

Beangstrom was sentenced alongside Masson at the Old Bailey on last Thursday to 18 months in prison, but will walk free in less than two months having already spent 210 days on remand.

Judge Timothy Pontius told them: “The conspiracy in which, on your own admission, you were both involved, was a large-scale enterprise.”

Masson took a leading role in organising the drug shipment and stood to make a “significant financial reward”, he added.

The judge told Beangstrom: “It is a tragedy that someone of mature years with a commendable employment background and your lack of significant previous offences should be tempted into crime of this scale for only paltry reward.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest Crime news

Monday, July 6, 2015
Armed robbery at a Brixton convenience store (Picture: Met Police)

A gang of four hooded men threatened a Brixton Hill shopkeeper with a gun and a knife before making off with money, vodka and cigarettes, police said as they appeal for information.

Monday, July 6, 2015
Officers had to call for reinforcements to help rescue the woman

A man has been jailed for raping his ex-wife in a landmark first ‘victimless’ rape conviction.

Monday, July 6, 2015
A man has been bailed pending further enquiries

A man has been arrested after a 12-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at Liverpool Street Station.

Monday, July 6, 2015
Swans are protected under UK law  (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A swan has been found dead and mutilated near railway lines in north London, in what officials are calling an ‘offensive’ and ‘very distressing’ crime.

Monday, July 6, 2015
(Picture: @beckileigh_x)

Terrified residents were evacuated from their homes in east London yesterday after police firearms and explosive officers were called to reports of man threatening to shoot himself.

Monday, July 6, 2015
(Picture: Barry Banter / YouTube)

Dozens of people gatecrashed Wirelsss festival in Finsbury Park at the weekend, battering through the 9ft metal fencing.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more