A DRUG trafficker stuffed cocaine packages inside his shoes and in his rectum as he tried to smuggle them through an airport.

Clayton Johnson has been jailed for eight years after he was caught by border force officers at Gatwick Airport on August 29.

The 52-year-old had intended to sell the drugs and raise enough money to pay back a man whose boat he had damaged almost four years ago.

At Gatwick Airport, Border Force officers searched Johnson's suitcase after he arrived in Sussex on a flight from Jamaica.

They found cocaine had been concealed inside two pairs of specially modified shoes and arrested the 52-year-old.

He was subjected to a body scan, which revealed a large number of packages inside his stomach.

The case was passed on to the National Crime Agency (NCA) who questioned Johnson on his method and motives.

The Argus:

He told them he had arranged for packets of cocaine to be concealed in the soles of two pairs of shoes, as well as swallowing a staggering 56 packages of the drugs and stuffing four more in his rectum.

A haul of 1.5kg of cocaine, which Johnson had planned to smuggle into the UK to sell, was recovered in total.

His reason for taking this drastic action, he said, was to sell the drugs and make enough money to pay back a debt of £6,000.

He owed this to a man in Jamaica, whose boat he had damaged some three-and-a-half years earlier.

Johnson also admitted to previously attempting to smuggle cocaine from Jamaica to the UK in 2012.

On that occasion he swallowed packages of cocaine but fell ill and was admitted to hospital where the packages were recovered.

Johnson, who is a Jamaican national but is registered to an address in Downham Way, Bromley, appeared at Isleworth Crown Court on November 5.

He was sentenced to eight years and three months in jail for his crimes.

The Argus:

Andy Noyes, branch commander for the NCA, said: "This was not the first time that Clayton Johnson had attempted to smuggle cocaine into our country, and his sentence reflects his repeated efforts to break the law for financial gain.

"Swallowing these powerful drugs was incredibly dangerous, and could have caused great harm to Johnson; or if his venture had succeeded, to members of the public.

"By removing this cocaine from the market, the NCA and Border Force have prevented it from ending up on UK streets, where class A drugs fuel violence and exploitation

"We continue to work with partners to target and disrupt organised crime groups, and protect the public."