Ex-PCSO jailed over drug smuggling

Hillingdon Times: Andrea Waldeck at her trial hearing at Surabaya District Court, Indonesia (AP) Andrea Waldeck at her trial hearing at Surabaya District Court, Indonesia (AP)

A British former police community support officer who admitted drug-smuggling in Indonesia has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Andrea Waldeck, 43, was also ordered to pay a fine of 167,000 US dollars (£101,500) by Surabaya District Court today.

The former PCSO with Gloucestershire Police previously pleaded guilty to trafficking drugs worth more than £3,000 into Indonesia's second-largest city.

Waldeck, who worked with the force until February 2012 and also lived in Rustington in West Sussex, could have faced the death penalty.

She was arrested in April after authorities found 52oz (1,472g) of methamphetamine crystals in her underwear at her hotel room in Surabaya, the capital of East Java province.

At the time, Waldeck told authorities she had been asked by her boyfriend, who lives in China, to take the drugs to a man in Indonesia, which has strict drug laws.

Today, a spokesman for legal action charity Reprieve, which is supporting Waldeck and her family, confirmed the sentence.

"She has been given a 14-year sentence," the spokesman said. "We are working on the case."

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police refused to comment on the case.

Prosecutors had previously called for Waldeck, originally from Talgarth in Powys, to be handed a 16-year term.

But during a court appearance in December, Waldeck's lawyer said the sentence was too long because she was not a drug dealer.

In a Facebook profile which appears to have been set up by Waldeck in July last year, she said: " My new, very private profile for the friends and family I love and miss so much.

"Your support means the world to me. I'm so very sorry I've disappointed you all."

In another message posted on July 12, she said: "Can't change my name or delete pics from this phone or answer messages individually but only my fb friends can see this.

"Please don't worry this is Indonesia and some have prison staff as friends."

In August, grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, from Gloucestershire, lost her appeal against a death sentence for trafficking drugs into the resort island of Bali.

A three-judge panel at the Supreme Court in Jakarta unanimously rejected her appeal after agreeing with the decision taken by Bali's Denpasar district court.

The 57-year-old, from Cheltenham, was sentenced to death by firing squad after being found at Bali's airport with 10.6lb (4.8kg) of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase, worth an estimated £1.6 million, during a routine customs check after she arrived on the Indonesian island on a flight from Bangkok, Thailand, in May last year. She was sentenced in January.

Balinese police claim Sandiford, originally from Redcar, Teesside, was at the centre of a drugs-importing ring involving three other Britons.

But she denies the allegations, claiming she was forced to transport the drugs to protect her children, whose safety was at stake.

Under Indonesian law, Sandiford still has the opportunity to seek a judicial review of her case before appealing for a presidential pardon.

More than 140 people are on death row in Indonesia for drug crimes, a third of them foreigners.

Stuart Fowler, chairman of Up Hatherley Parish Council, submitted a witness statement for Waldeck to the Indonesian court last year.

"I wrote a witness statement in her defence last year about her work within the parish, most especially with young people," Mr Fowler told the Press Association.

"I knew she had left the police service in February 2012 and after that I had no knowledge of where she was or what she was doing.

"I have to say it seems as though she has been a very silly girl. I would have said it was out of character but I didn't know her for that long.

"She was accepted into the police, who must have made some assessment of her as an individual.

"Like the rest of us, when you have misbehaved, you have to take your punishment like a man."

Mr Fowler said the local community had feared for Waldeck's safety when she was threatened with the death penalty.

"I was terrified about the thought of the death penalty," he said. "I don't approve of it at all.

"This lesser period of detention is in accordance with the rules where she is. I only hope that she is treated well when she is incarcerated.

"It would be good if she could serve it back in her own country. This has been a big shock for those that knew her.

"I don't believe that she is a criminal. When she worked in the parish, she was always industrious and keen - I certainly had no complaints."

An MP expressed his "relief" at the sentence.

Martin Horwood, Lib Dem MP for Cheltenham, tweeted: " Relief at least at reduced sentence not death sentence."

Mr Horwood has been fighting against the death penalty imposed on Sandiford by the Indonesian Supreme Court.

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