A group of soldiers caught smuggling guns and cocaine into the UK have been jailed.

The gang of five, including four servicemen, were caught on January 25 last year when a joint operation between Metropolitan Police and Kent Police stopped their two BMW’s as they arrived in Folkestone from Calais by the Euroshuttle.

Lance Laurent, 26, from Gloucester Road, Battersea, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import firearms at the start of the trial, was also convicted of conspiracy to import class A drugs and jailed for 12 years, while Romone Marshalleck, 25, of Huron Road, Tooting Bec, was sentenced for six and a half years for conspiracy to import firearms.

Three other men Trave Dyce, 22, of Smethwick in the West Midlands, Lemar Loveless, 26, Brydon Walk north London and Duran Wright, 28 from Jerningham Road, New Cross were also jailed at Woolwich Crown Court today.

During the trial the court heard the car, which was registered to Wright and driven by Dyce contained five handguns concealed around the vehicle while a bag of 500g of cocaine was found in the boot.

The drugs had been stowed in an army issue boot and had what appeared to be curry powder laced through it.

The second vehicle was driven by Loveless, who Dyce, a soldier with the Queens Royal Hussars in Germany, fingered as the organiser of the operation.

Analysis of text messages also implicated Laurent and Wright in the scheme. Interviews with the men revealed Marshalleck was the contact in the UK expecting to receive the illegal goods and was arrested and charged.

The court heard Wright provided the vehicle used by Dyce whilst Laurent was instrumental in planning the movement of firearms and drugs to the UK.

Detective Inspector Chris Jones from Trident Gang Crime Command, North-East Team said: "The convictions of Lemar Loveless, Trave Dyce, Romone Marshalleck, Lance Laurent and Duran Wright are the culmination of a great deal of hard work by the Trident North-East Team, Kent Police, British Military and the CPS.

"It has led to the removal of five lethal firearms and ammunition, weapons which would inevitably have been used to commit acts of serious violence on the streets of London.

"Trident operations, such as this one, demonstrate that it remains difficult for criminals to obtain guns and that police will use all means necessary to track down those responsible to arrest and place them before the courts.

"Trident Gang Crime Command continues to work alongside boroughs and partner agencies to disrupt such gang-related criminality and convict those who perpetrate it."