THREE Gwent men were jailed after being found with more than 250kg of a drug cutting agent which, if mixed with drugs, could produce street deals worth around £10 million.

Royston Mason, 57, from Cwmbran, Luke Whittam, 24, and Jac Ludlow, 21, both from Pontypool, were each jailed for three years and eight months.

The men were jailed at Canterbury Crown Court after pleading guilty to assisting in the supply of a controlled drug of class A or B On June 3, UK Border Agency officers at Dover’s Eastern Docks stopped Whittam, of Alexandra Road, Sebastopol, who was driving a van. He told them he had been to the Netherlands to buy an engine. He told them laundry bags in the back of the van had fertiliser inside.

Kent Police and Kent fire brigade were called to test the substance and it was found to be paracetamol mixed with caffeine.

On June 19, officers stopped Mason, of Shakespeare Road, St Dials, and Ludlow, of Greenhill Road, Sebastopol, in a hired van – they said they had been to Calais to pick up fertiliser.

A search of the van uncovered 13 clear plastic bags which looked as if they had been opened and resealed.

The bags were marked ‘sand for children’s sandpits’ but tests revealed it was a paracetamol and caffeine mixture.

Investigations by Border Force linked the two attempted importations and the consignments totalled 268kg.

If the cutting agent was mixed with drugs such as heroin or amphetamine and sold on the streets, it could have been worth an estimated £10 million.

Malcolm Bragg, from the Border Force, said: “These seizures were highly unusual, and involved significant amounts of a cutting agent which when mixed with drugs would have gained considerable sums of criminal money for those involved. Along with our law enforcement colleagues in theUKand around the world we are determined to do all we can to stop drugs reaching our streets and harming our communities.”

● Anyone with information about activity they suspect to be linked to drug smuggling is asked to call 0800 595 000.