Two yacht skippers have each been jailed for eight years for smuggling drugs worth £2million into Brighton Marina.

They gave vital evidence which helped secure the conviction of the mastermind behind a major international drugs ring.

A judge told them yesterday (fri) that they would each otherwise have received 24 years for their part in the plot.

They will now spend the rest of their lives living in fear of retribution, Hove Crown Court heard.

John Pratt and Mikael Jensen were arrested when the drugs cartel was smashed at the marina.

Heroin and cocaine with a street value of £2million was recovered, one of the biggest ever drug hauls in Sussex.

Undercover officers from the National Crime Squad led the operation to crack the ring.

They kept watch on the yacht Lola as she arrived back at the marina from France in June, 2005.

Stashed on board was 28 kg of heroin hidden in a secret compartment in the galley.

Officers swooped as the drugs were handed over on level six of the marina's multi-storey car park.

After they were arrested the skippers named Christopher Quaddy as the mastermind behind the drugs ring.

They turned Queen's Evidence against him during a six-week trial at Hove Crown Court in December.

Both admitted they hoped to receive a substantial reduction in the sentences they would ultimately receive.

Pratt,34, and Jensen, 38, who were living at Brighton Marina, both pleaded guilty to smuggling Class A drugs.

Pratt told how Quaddy recruited them while they were running a yacht business in Palma, Majorca, in 2004.

He softened Pratt up by paying for a night out at top London club China White.

They said he paid £43,000 to buy the yacht Lola in Falmouth which they sailed to Brighton.

She was then re-fitted and prepared to make the cross-Channel drugs runs to France.

Pratt said Quaddy paid them £5,000 to bring back two bags of cocaine in May, 2005.

A month later they were paid £8,000 to smuggle the 28 kilos of heroin into Brighton Marina.

Cocaine and 90,000 ecstasy tablets were later found in a raid at a house in Bracknell, Berkshire.

Timothy Probert-Wood, prosecuting, said at their trial: "Had it not been for their co-operation after their arrest, the first importation would never have come to light."

Osman Osman, (crct) defending, said: "It is one thing that they took the decision to provide the information they did.

"But they went further by taking the bold step to come forward to give evidence in the witness box.

"They have exposed themselves and that will have an impact on them for the rest of their lives."

Judge Anthony Niblett told them: "You associated yourselves with Quaddy and your roles were at the highest level.

"You cared nothing for the lives of those destroyed by the use of Class A drugs, particularly heroin.

"You were arrested as a result of skillful observation which had been in place for many weeks.

"Having been caught redhanded you made statements and gave evidence in the trial of Christopher Quaddy and others.

"Your evidence implicated another man who has also decided to plead guilty.

"I accept that you have both exposed yourselves to danger possibly for the rest of your lives, but then you were in a very dangerous business."

Australian-born Pratt, and Danish citizen Jensen, will both be deported when they are released.

Quaddy, 34, of Silwood Close, Ascot, Berkshire, is due to be sentenced next week.