The two stars appear in a 60-second public service TV filler in which the Department warns football fans and other travellers that if they are tempted to carry illegal drugs back into the country, either for themselves or others, they will face the most severe penalties.
The film, which spoofs the stars’ advertising for crisps and shampoo, will be provided to all TV channels before the kick off of the European championships on June 10 and will be available to be shown as a public information film throughout the rest of the tournament.
Dawn Primarolo, the Paymaster General, said: “Drugs smuggling is a very serious crime carrying severe penalties for all those involved. Enjoy the football at Euro 2000, but our advice is simple: if you are going abroad this summer, don’t be tempted to bring illegal drugs back with you, don’t carry packages for anyone else and always keep an eye on your luggage.”
Gary Lineker supports Customs in its role, and said: “Every one of us can do our little bit to help fight the war against drugs. We may see someone acting suspiciously or a complete stranger may ask you to carry something for them. Don’t think twice about reporting it, you could be saving a life. Do your bit !”.
David Ginola also expressed his concerns: “I think it is very important for everyone to be alert to the dangers of drugs being smuggled into this country. We can all help. The airports and ports are where these evil people can be caught, and the dangerous flow of drugs on to the streets and to children can be stopped. We all share that responsibility.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. TV fillers, or public information films, are an essential part of public service campaigns run by government departments and publicly funded organisations. TV stations donate airtime to play the fillers. Non-broadcast outlets, such as clubs, also play the videos at their discretion.
2. The one minute film features the soccer stars having their baggage searched after they step off a flight from Amsterdam. Confusion at a Stansted carousel leaves Gary with a suitcase of shampoo and David with a bumper supply of crisps. Although there are no drugs found in their luggage, a seizure is made from another passenger.
3. Filming took place over two days in April at Stansted airport. David and Gary gave their services free. The extras in the video are a mixture of Customs staff and professional actors.
4. Smuggling drugs carries stiff penalties. The UK Drugs Strategy puts the emphasis on targeting drugs which do the most harm to society, such as heroin and cocaine, and smugglers caught with large quantities of these drugs can expect to spend the rest of their lives in jail. However, smaller quantities of so-called ‘soft drugs’, such as cannabis, could result in a seven year prison term.
5. The video also encourages law-abiding football fans to call the Customs Confidential hotline on 0800 59 5000 if they notice anything suspicious.