Baby-faced drug dealer jailed in £250,000 sting

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A former hockey player has been jailed for nine years after masterminding an international drugs smuggling ring.

Baby-faced Simon Howard-Harwood was busted after taking advantage of lax airport security through Canada.

He enlisted the help of air hostess, Mandeep Shahi, from Ontario, who brought back 250,000 worth of cocaine through Heathrow in March this year.

Howard-Harwood, of South Road, Horndean, along with Baljinder Nijjar, both 28, orchestrated a drop-off at a London hotel.

Unknown to the pair they had been under surveillance by Scotland Yard since 2009, following a tip-off.

Minicab driver Ghulem Malik, 53, ferried the drugs between two rooms in the hotel.

When police burst in on former public schoolboy Howard-Harwood, they found him in his underwear, about to snort a line of cocaine, while packing the drugs up for distribution.

Before his descent into the criminal underworld he lived in South Road, Horndean, and played for Petersfield Hockey Club.

But two years ago he left the club and the area.

One former player said of him: 'I didn't know him that well but from what I did know of him he was a very nice guy. He suddenly said he was moving to London and left the club. I don't know what he was doing up there.

'He was a very good player as I remember.'

In court Howard-Harwood gave his London address as Rowan Lodge, Chantry Square, Kensington, an exclusive development where apartments sell for more than 2m. Police had watched Howard-Harwood, Nijjar and Malik when they met up at a series of locations around London, transferring bags and holdalls between vehicles.

The jury at Southwick Crown Court heard that on March 26 this year, Shahi breezed through airport security at Heathrow and checked in to the Danubis Hotel in Regent's Park, central London.

Later that day, police watched as Nijjar entered the hotel. He went into her room and left a few minutes later carrying a blue Air Canada bag.

He then walked to room 221, where Howard-Harwood was staying and left empty-handed.

Soon after, Malik was seen entering the hotel and heading to Howard-Harwood's room. He left with a bag, loaded into his vehicle and drove away.

Police stopped him nearby and found a kilo of cocaine. They then raided Howard-Harwood's and found three further kilos of cocaine stashed in a cupboard.

Jailing Howard-Harwood for nine years, Judge Michael Gledhill QC referred to his 'fall from grace' from respectable public schoolboy to prolific drug dealer. His parents, who were previously unaware of their son's conviction, were too upset to talk to The News.