A father-of-three who was found with a microscopic speck of cannabis stuck to the bottom of one of his shoes has been sentenced to four years in a Dubai prison.
Keith Brown, a council youth development officer, was travelling through the United Arab Emirates on his way back to England when he was stopped as he walked through Dubai’s main airport.
A search by customs officials uncovered a speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003g – so small it would be invisible to the naked eye and weighing less than a grain of sugar – on the tread of one of his shoes.
Dubai International Airport is a major hub for the Middle East and thousands of Britons pass through it every year to holiday in the glamorous beach and shopping haven.
But many of those tourists and business travellers are likely to be unaware of the strict zero-tolerance drugs policy in the UAE.
One man has even been jailed for possession of three poppy seeds left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport. Painkiller codeine is also banned.
If suspicious of a traveller, customs officials can use high-tech equipment to uncover even the slightest trace of drugs.
Mr Brown was detained and arrested in September last year and has been held in a cell with three other men in the city prison ever since.
This week the youth worker, who has two young children and a partner at home in Smethwick, West Midlands, was sentenced to four years in prison.