Once you hit a certain age, you start to wonder what your legacy will be. What important accomplishments you'll leave behind when you're dead and can no longer use Facebook job status updates, really good selfies or links to particularly snappy, observational jokes as a reminder that, yes, life was in fact worth living. Wanting to leave something behind is, I assume, most of the logic behind breaking your back running a business or having a child who otherwise saps you of your wages and energy for at least 25 years.
I wonder, then, how proud the inventor of the Kinder Egg – originally the Kinder Surprise – must feel. Michele Ferrero, who died last year aged 89, was a soft-spoken Italian man who gave the world Ferrero Rocher chocolate balls, Tic-Tacs, Nutella and the toy-and-chocolate Kinder combination that has surpassed the world of confectionery and become a vital fixture in the world of British drug smuggling.
Do you think Ferrero smiles up from his grave – don't ask about the details of how a dead man knows what's happening on Earth, just run with this – and thinks, 'if only I had lived long enough to see how much heroin people would try to stuff into that hollow egg I came up with?'
If so, Ferrero would probably be chuffed to learn about James Spotswood. The 28-year-old from Merseyside reportedly pulled a runner on Friday, after a court appearance at Shrewsbury Crown Court. He'd been charged on two counts of possession of Class As with intent to supply, and possession of a knife in a public place – he denied the charges, but was found guilty unanimously by a jury after the two-day trial.
It all started with a couple of Kinder Eggs. Spotswood was driving a Vauxhall with passenger Alan McNeil when police stopped them on the 30th of January last year, according to local press. A search of the car uncovered two Kinder Eggs pushed inside a sock, hidden under a compartment near the gear stick.
"Inside there was a large amount of drugs in individual street deals, ready for onward supply," said the prosecutor in the court case, speaking on Thursday. What the cops really found were about 79 wraps of crack, nine wraps of heroin and a mixture of both drugs in another wrap. The police made one of their usual street value estimates, deciding this haul would have fetched about £900 (though the actual amounts of the drugs weren't listed).
On top of the Class As, the police then found that Spotswood had £235 in cash, which was seized. Spotswood's defence rested on the idea that he'd been working under duress, and was basically being forced to drive McNeil around to move the drugs. When Spotswood gave evidence, he said that McNeil had been threatening him with the knife the police found in the car, making him drive from one spot to another to for pick-ups.
In the end, McNeil pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing Class As with intent to supply. On Friday, when Spotswood was found guilty of all three charges levelled against him, his lawyer asked that he be given bail until his sentencing on the 29th of November. That request was refused, and Spotswood then ran out of the building. Like, he just left. After a few hours, the police tracked Spotswood down again and arrested him. He's still yet to be sentenced.
In the meantime, the Kinder Surprise continues to shift from childhood nostalgia-inducing treat to an ideal place to try and hide drugs. You may remember the story from July, of two brother who'd shoved £25,000 worth of heroin up their bums – smuggled, obviously, in Kinder Eggs. There were the coke-filled Kinders hidden in bins out a London pub and found on people at the pub, after several police raids. And, of course, there was the story of a six-year-old boy who found crystal meth stashed inside a Kinder Egg nestled under a bush.
In his long life, Michele Ferrero grew to become the richest man in Italy. But perhaps his biggest accomplishment of all was inadvertently designing a chocolate for kids that could be so ingeniously used to move Class As from one place to another. Surely, it's what he would have wanted.
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