Briton Lindsay Sandiford held in Bali over cocaine haul

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Media captionLindsay Sandiford had to use her hand to shield her eyes from the camera flashes during the press conference

A British woman has been arrested for allegedly trafficking cocaine worth £1.6m into the Indonesian island of Bali, a customs official has said.

Lindsay Sandiford, 55, was stopped with the 4.7kg haul in a suitcase as she arrived on a flight from Bangkok in Thailand on 19 May, Made Wijaya said.

Three Britons and an Indian national were believed to be the intended recipients. They are being questioned.

Ms Sandiford's last known address was in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are aware of the arrest in Bali, and we stand ready to provide consular assistance."

Pictures from a press conference in the town of Kuta showed Ms Sandiford covering her face and surrounded by customs officials.

The images showed her at a table on which packages wrapped in brown tape were cut open with a knife.

Wearing an orange inmate's T-shirt, she was also photographed flanked by armed officers wearing black masks.


Mr Wijaya, head of the Customs office in Bali, said officials spotted the drugs in Ms Sandiford's suitcase when her luggage went through an X-ray machine as part of a routine check.

They took her in for questioning, and said they found cocaine in the lining of her bag.

Indonesian authorities said the British national told them she was a housewife.

The BBC has contacted the British embassy in Jakarta but officials there have yet to comment.

Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world.

The death penalty has been used in the past for drug traffickers, but in recent years it has been applied infrequently.

More than 140 people are on death row in the country, a third of them foreigners.