A CRUISE ship bar supervisor was jailed for eight years at Southampton Crown Court yesterday for attempting to smuggle more than £400,000 worth of cocaine into the country.

Herman Spence, 46, was detained by customs officers after leaving the Grand Princess when it docked in Southampton on July 16.

When they examined his small rucksack, they discovered a size 13 pair of trainers with raised insoles.Inside were packages containing the contraband.

Two other packages were also discovered in the bag, said prosecutor James Kelham.

Spence, who had worked in the cruise industry for 15 years, told investigators there had been "a dreadful mistake," explaining how he had given the trainers and packages in Gibraltar and once he stepped ashore in England, he would be contacted.

He did not think he was doing anything illegal.When his cabin was searched, more than £16,000 in cash was also found.Spence, from Montego Bay, Jamaica, admitted smuggling 1.29 kilos of cocaine with a 100 per cent purity and having a street value of about £435,000.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Ralls QC dismissed his claim he had been doing someone he had just met in Gibralter a favour.

"You cannot be classed as an innocent courier. Importation of these drugs brings untold misery to those who become addicted to them.

"Keeley Harvey, defending, said Spence was of previous good character and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.