Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Plane crew bailed over drugs haul

Heathrow Airport
Drugs with a street value of 250,000 were found in baggage

Fifteen crew members on a South African Airways (SAA) flight detained after cocaine with a street value of 250,000 was found in baggage have been bailed.

The UK Border Agency officers arrested the nine men and six women at Heathrow airport, west London.

Officers found five kg (11lbs) of the Class A drug in luggage on the flight from Johannesburg.

SAA said its Aviation Security and the South African police have also begun an investigation into the incident.

All 15 were interviewed by customs officers at the west London airport and were released on bail until 7 and 8 April.

Last month, 15 other SAA crew members were arrested after cocaine and cannabis worth 310,000 was uncovered at Heathrow in a separate incident.

'Zero-tolerance approach'

They were granted unconditional bail and instructed to report back to Heathrow police station on 23 March.

South African Airways (SAA) spokeswoman Robyn Chalmers said: "Following yesterday's (Monday's) incident, the airline is again co-operating fully with the British authorities in an investigation that is currently under way.

"An investigation in Johannesburg, involving SAA Aviation Security and the South African Police Service Crime Intelligence Unit, is also under way to establish how security procedures were breached.

"SAA remains committed to a zero-tolerance approach towards the use of the airline's services for any criminal activity and will continue to closely monitor the situation."

Bob Gaiger, spokesman for HM Revenue and Customs at Heathrow, said crew members were subject to the same customs checks as any other person when entering the UK.



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