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

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Friends paid tribute Joe Walker at the spot where he was killed

A teenage boy has been given a 12-month-detention order for his part in the death of Joe Walker, a 17-year-old from Stroud Green who was killed in a road crash last October.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
If you know this man, please contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting T/B6 of 27/05/2015

Police want to speak to a “man in orange trousers” after a Southall man was headbutted so viciously in a rush hour altercation at Ealing Broadway that he had to be taken to hospital.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Former MP for Falkirk Joyce has been in trouble with the law before [Photograph from Metropolitan Police]

Former MP Eric Joyce has avoided jail after attacking two teenagers in an ‘entirely unacceptable’ assault in a Chalk Farm shop.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
A new play chronicles the shocking story of sex predator Savile

‘Were there people in showbusiness who knew he was ‘dodgy’? Absolutely’

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A 13-year old girl was raped by a man after meeting him the day before in Camden.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015
[Photo Emmanuel Valentine]

Twitter was flooded with photos of the tyre-high rushing brown water.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Read more
You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more
Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Read more