A mother-of one from Birmingham has told how she sparked a cocaine smuggling alert after shipping washing powder to relatives in Jamaica. Now angry Sharon Jaddoo wants to be reimbursed for goods including cooking oil, rice, custard and toothpaste, which was lost when her four oil barrels crammed with the groceries were seized on the sunshine island. The 44-year-old, from Handsworth, spent months packing the 80 kilos drums with items for her partially-sighted aunt in Kingston.
But when they arrived in the Caribbean, customs officers pounced – with washing powder and even teabags apparently ripped open in the fruitless search for drugs. Sharon is now £440 out of pocket – and she wants it back. She said: ‘‘How stupid can you be? Hasn’t anyone told them you don’t smuggle drugs into Jamaica, you smuggle drugs out of Jamaica?” Sharon has already clashed with Swift Connections, the shipping company paid £370 to make the overseas delivery.
It has made a £200 “goodwill” payment, but denies any responsibility. The fault, management stress, lies with Sharon who they claim should have packed items with greater care. And they claim to have endured abuse from her. Director Philip Jackson was moved to send a letter warning: “You have abused several members of staff, telling one she is lucky she was in London or you would ‘deal’ with her.” Sharon spent seven months and £700 filling the drums for 77-year aunt Mavis, something she’s done on several occasion without a hitch.
She dubbed authorities “stupid” for mistaking her shopping for a cache of Class A drugs. But she candidly admits firing a broadside at shaken Swift Connection staff in Jamaica. “If you are rude to me, I’ll be rude to you,” she added. “They don’t know the meaning of abuse. At the end of the day, it’s my business. They are my things for my aunt.” Mr Jackson stressed the £200 payment was made “from a goodwill perspective” and was well above the calculated cost of items listed missing on a scrawled note from Sandra. “We just thought, ‘let’s move on, it’s not worth the hassle’.”