A man who was caught red-handed trying to smuggle £124,000 worth of heroin into the UK at Heathrow Airport has been jailed for five years.

Afran Khalid was caught with the drugs by Border Force after he arrived on a flight from Islamabad in June 2018. He told officers he had been in Pakistan visiting family.

The 26-year-old, of Russell Court, initially claimed he was travelling with only hand luggage, but officers found a soft-sided suitcase with a baggage tag bearing his name on the carousel.

When they searched the suitcase they found 1.3kg of brown powder hidden inside a pair of trainers.

Khalid was arrested and the investigation passed to the National Crime Agency (NCA). He was jailed for five years at Isleworth Crown Court on October 17.

He had pleaded guilty to a charge of importing a controlled drug at an earlier hearing.

Nick Jariwalla, director of Border Force Heathrow, said: “There is no doubt that had Khalid not been stopped, these dangerous drugs would have ended up being sold on the UK’s streets.

“Border Force work in close partnership with both UK and international law enforcement agencies. In protecting the national border, we act decisively and deal robustly with those who seek to smuggle dangerous articles and illegal substances into the UK. This case should serve as a warning to others.”

Border Force officers use high-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

By Stephanie Wareham