Monday, May 2


FOUR members of the Paul Bird Motorsport team that runs Kawasaki's Superbike World Championship effort have been arrested on suspicion of importing drugs into England following the Assen round of the Superbike World Championship.

They were subsequently released on bail pending further investigations.

However, the Paul Bird Motorsport team has since issued a media statement saying that the discovery of drugs, a handgun and some ammunition in one of its race transporters came as a complete surprise to the team.

"The team are confident that no team member has any connection whatsoever with the items discovered. No one has been detained after the time of the search and all team members are able to undertake their normal duties," the media statement reads.

"There is no suggestion of the Paul Bird Motorsport Team being involved in illegal activities and no other team members have been interviewed following the incident. The team staff present at the time of the search and discovery enjoy the full support and confidence of the team and all involved are determined to offer their full cooperation to HM Customs in their ongoing investigations," the statement says.

For the full Paul Bird Motorsport statement, click on:

The four men arrested - Philip Roe, Gary Matthews, Mattia Fontanta and Daniel Swyer - were initially detained after two Paul Bird Motorsport transporters were inspected at Dover Eastern Docks in April on their way back to the team's base in Morecambe, Lancashire, returning from the Assen round of the Superbike World Championship.

England's daily paper The Telegraph broke the story in its May 2 edition and reported that a UK Border Agency spokesman said: "Two lorries were searched by UK Border Agency officers as they passed through Dover Eastern Docks. Quantities of Class A drugs, Class B drugs and a handgun were discovered," he said.

"Four men, aged 50, 40, 32 and 27 were arrested on suspicion of the importation of controlled drugs and firearm offences. They were questioned and later released on bail pending further enquiries."

The Telegraph is speculating that the drugs discovery will result in closer scrutiny of all motorsport teams entering and departing Britain.

For the full story, click on: