Page last updated at 09:46 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 10:46 UK

MP's gunpoint Coffee Mate ordeal

'They found a container of white powder'

An MP has described how he was held at gunpoint by guards in Colombia who mistook a jar of coffee whitener he was carrying for cocaine.

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant was on a trekking holiday to South America last week when, he said, he was held by armed soldiers who searched his bags.

He said one pulled out the unmarked jar of Coffee Mate and accused him of smuggling raw cocaine.

The MP said all he could do was to eat "mouthfuls" of it to prove otherwise.

Conservative MP Mr Fabricant, who was with a friend at the time, was eventually released and allowed to continue his holiday.

I started tasting some of it and the guards insisted I had more to see if I was going to trip out
Michael Fabricant

He said he ate several mouthfuls of the coffee whitener while M16 guns were pointed at him to prove it would not have any ill effects on him.

He offered some to the camouflaged guards, thinking that if it was pure cocaine it would be poisonous.

Mr Fabricant, who is now safely back home, said: "They started to speak to us in Spanish and unfortunately I don't really speak any Spanish at all.

"They started looking through our bags, and came across this container which was unmarked which contained this mysterious creamy, white powder, and they started shouting, 'cocaine, cocaine' or something that sounded like that in Spanish.

"I started to explain Coffee Mate and I don't think they understood because they were going, 'no coffee, no coffee'. I was saying I knew it wasn't coffee, but they were a bit bewildered."

Mr Fabricant said that although Colombian coffee was "really very, very good", he did not trust trying the local milk, which is why he had brought the coffee whitener with him.

He added: "I started tasting some of it and the guards insisted I had more to see if I was going to trip out.

"When it became obvious it wasn't happening, they started giggling and one tried it on their tongue.

"Mind you, I felt pretty ill after trying some. By the time you've had several scoops of Coffee Mate, and of course it expands in your stomach, it's not very nice."

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