Ipswich security at smugglers' courts

MASSIVE security operations hit Ipswich each time the Bawdsey drug smugglers appeared in Suffolk's courts.Armed police patrolled the area around the town's court houses every time the eight-strong gang of traffickers headed to the county for legal hearings.

By Lisa Baxter

MASSIVE security operations hit Ipswich each time the Bawdsey drug smugglers appeared in Suffolk's courts.

Armed police patrolled the area around the town's court houses every time the eight-strong gang of traffickers headed to the county for legal hearings.

Officers wearing bullet proof vests encircled the court and stood guard inside as people entering the building queued to be searched in a high profile security operation.

Five of the eight smugglers; Mark Rothermel, Brian Richardson, Sean Clarke, Leonard Haworth and Angel Jimenez, were remanded in custody until the start of their two-month trial at Woolwich Crown Court in January.

For much of their time awaiting trial, some of the smugglers spent time in London's notorious high-security Belmarsh Prison.

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The smugglers joined the list of famous inmates past and present who have spent time in the cells of the south east London jail – such as disgraced former Tory cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, Jeffrey Archer and Ronnie Biggs.

Housing around 850 inmates, Belmarsh has a maximum security wing used to lock up some of the country's most dangerous criminals including IRA terrorists put on trial at the court linked to the jail via an underground passageway.

Remand prisoners are also housed at the jail as are convicts who have just been sentenced at London courts.

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