A MAN who staged a terrifying gun siege in Gwent a decade ago was today starting an 11-year jail sentence for smuggling £250,000 of heroin.

Roger Amos, 51, pictured, was convicted at Manchester crown court yesterday after a three-day trial where he was accused of knowingly smuggling the heroin into the UK from India.

Judge Michael Henshell told him: "This is a grave offence and involved a substantial quantity of pure heroin.

"It would have found its way on to our streets in many small deals leading to considerable misery for users and others.

"People who import this drug as couriers play an essential part in this dreadful trade.

"The overall effect is to degrade life in our towns and cities. Addicts often commit serious crimes to pay for their habit.

"Sentences on those concerned in importation must be severe. You, I know, are under no illusion about that."

In 1991, Roger Amos kidnapped his ex-wife's lover, Donald Stewart, and subjected him to a terrifying 31- hour ordeal.

The dramatic events culminated in a 13-hour stand- off outside the Kings Hotel in Newport, where he held his hostage at gunpoint - the siege ending after Amos blasted Donald Stewart in the hand with a shotgun.

Amos was eventually jailed for nine years for offences of kidnap, unlawful wounding, and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The jury in the drugs trial found Amos unanimously guilty, and rejected Amos' claim that he was unaware the drugs were in the suitcase he had bought in India for less than £10.

Amos, who has been working in Gwent as a garage manager earning around £20,000 a year, was stopped by customs officers in Manchester after a flight from India last March.

Prosecuting barrister, Brian Cummings said Amos, of Hillview Crescent, Newport, had travelled from Goa.

He was stopped in the 'nothing to declare' channel by customs officers and his hard suitcase was examined. There was an X-ray and a positive field test for opiates. A forensic scientists later found the heroin hidden in a concealed compartment behind the fabric lining and a moulded plastic shell.

The heroin powder weighed almost three kilos - just under six and a half pounds - and was 51 per cent pure.

Under police interview, Amos did not answer any questions, but his solicitor read out a written statement, where he said he was "horrified" at what was in the suitcase.

During his short trial, Amos, who represented himself, said he had bought the suitcase for 500 rupees on a short trip to Bombay. He was with an acquaintance, who acted as his guide and interpreter, and it was the other man who suggested he bought the suitcase.

Amos accepted that the drugs must have been in the case before he had bought it, and insisted he had no knowledge of them. When arrested at the airport, Amos said he was "shattered, just gobsmacked".