Two ex-Royal Marines who imported cocaine into the UK in children's Lego boxes were discovered after one box was inadvertently given as a present at a little boy's birthday party.

Jack Jones, 28, hatched a plot involving hiding various drugs inside toy boxes with the help of Issac Rasmussen, also 28.

Jones and Rasmussen were jailed on Tuesday, June 15, for 16-and-a-half years and 10 years respectively, Liverpool Echo reports.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Jones had a Dutch contact who posted cocaine, heroin, MDMA, and cannabis from Holland, which the gang supplied across the UK.

Vacuum sealed packages were also posted to the home of co-conspirator Paul Jones, 43, and his mum's house.

Child accidentally given Lego box full of cocaine as birthday present
A picture of kilos of cocaine found on Jack Jones and Isaac Rasmussen's EncroChat phones

Two DPD parcels delivered on June 24, 2020, and recovered by police contained 18kg of "high purity" cocaine.

The wholesale value was between £612,000 and £720,000, but the potential street value when cut was up to £1.8m.

Jack Jones regularly transferred large payments, including £149,500, in the cryptocurrency bitcoin to his Dutch contact.

Paul Jones, aka Paul Birch, received seven DPD packages imported from Holland.

The final two, containing more than 12kg of cocaine, were sent to his mum Sharon Birch's house in Callington Close, Huyton, and to his home in Lincombe Road, Huyton.

Child accidentally given Lego box full of cocaine as birthday present
Jack Jones was jailed for 16-and-a-half years

Officers raided his home on June 24, when a DPD driver turned up with a large brown box for him.

It contained eight small Lego Duplo boxes, but inside were compressed one-kilo blocks of 77% pure cocaine.

A search of his mum's home revealed four Duplo boxes, each containing one-kilo blocks of 82% pure cocaine.

Police then raided Rasmussen's address in Whiston, where they found the remnants of a cannabis farm.

It was only later they discovered a DPD package had been delivered to his next-door neighbour, who agreed to accept it for him.

In a statement to police, the neighbour said she had collected a number of packages over the years.

But with Rasmussen lying low, whenever she tried to give him the delivery he wasn't in.

A few weeks later, her son's girlfriend said she was going to a children's party, and didn't have a present for her friend's son so was told she should take a Duplo one with a picture of a fire engine.

She wrapped the box and dropped it off for the boy's birthday, before his mum opened it for him to play with on September 4.

Mr Lander said: "When she opened the box, she immediately noticed that it was not Lego but was an item that had been wrapped in various layers of different packaging.

Child accidentally given Lego box full of cocaine as birthday present
Isaac Rasmussen was jailed for 10 years

"The packaging was lined with foil and inside was a white bag that had brown masking tape with a marking on and contained a solid white block. Forensic analysis of that white block revealed it to be 1kg of cocaine at 82% purity."

Police then went to the neighbour's house and seized five other Lego boxes, each containing a kilo of 86% pure cocaine.

Jack Jones was arrested at Manchester Airport, with three mobile phones and cash, when he flew in from Amsterdam on December 2.

He made no comment and so did Rasmussen when he was arrested the next day in Bedfordshire.

Paul Jones was arrested at HMP Liverpool on January 20, where he was serving a 12-month sentence for growing a £50,000 cannabis farm.

Child accidentally given Lego box full of cocaine as birthday present
Paul Jones was jailed for seven-and-a-half years

Judge Stuart Driver, QC, told Rasmussen: "Part of such a delivery to your address disguised as Lego was inadvertently handed to a small child wrapped up as a birthday present, exposing the child to a risk of serious harm."

All three men admitted conspiring to import and supply cocaine.

Jack Jones, of Hey Park, Huyton, also admitted conspiring to supply heroin, MDMA, and cannabis, to import cannabis, and to convert criminal property.

Rasmussen, of Heath Road, Widnes, who also admitted conspiring to import cannabis, had no previous convictions.

Paul Jones, of Lincombe Road, Huyton, also admitted possessing cannabis and criminal property.

He was jailed for seven and a half years.