Three UK Cypriots have been convicted of being in a drugs gang who attempted to smuggle large quantities of cannabis.
Nicholas Panayiotou and Eleanar Attard,(Photo above) who won the pro version of Channel 4’s Come Dine With Me in 2022, and Constantinos Zavros, along with two other conspirators, Luke Wileman and Koby Haik, planned to smuggle 58kg of cannabis into London from America, but were foiled by Metropolitan Police detectives following a report of luggage theft at Heathrow airport.
Detective Chief Inspector Inderjit Kaur said: “This investigation highlights some fantastic detective work by Met Police officers to identify and uncover a dangerous group involved in drugs importation and supply, which we know can have a terrible effect on local communities.
“We also saw incredible bravery and professionalism from TSG officers who were shot at as they arrested one of the suspects. Thankfully, only blanks were fired, but thanks to this investigation, a dangerous weapon is off the streets and a group of dangerous criminals are now behind bars.”
The investigation was led by officers from the Met’s Aviation Policing Command after two women reported their suitcases and passports were stolen while waiting for a taxi after arriving in London on a flight from Los Angeles on 11 January 2023.
Detectives carried out fast-time CCTV enquiries and traced the suspects – a man and woman – back to a car registered to Eleanar Attard. Just two days after the theft, officers attended her home in Broxbourne where they arrested Attard, along with her husband, Nicholas Panayiotou.
However, when officers examined Panayiotou’s phone, they found evidence that the theft was part of a wider conspiracy to import and then steal a large amount of cannabis.
A WhatsApp group chat found by officers contained details of a plan to smuggle 58kgs of cannabis into the UK from the USA. Officers also found evidence of how the group plotted to steal the cannabis from the two women recruited to import it – by Panayiotou and his wife posing as customs officers and pretending to seize the suitcases and passports from the women soon after they arrived into the UK.

ANPR data gathered by detectives also showed that Nick Panayiotou (photo above) and his wife travelled to a hotel and then on to their restaurant in Chingford, A Touch of Greek, which is now closed, after the theft was carried out.
Three videos found by detectives on Panayiotou’s phone showed large quantities of cannabis. Meta-data analysis carried out by the officers showed the videos were taken the day after the theft of luggage took place and were filmed at the restaurant.
Extensive enquiries were made by officers to identify three other people on the WhatsApp group. Constantinos Zavros was identified as being connected to those supplying the drugs in the US and officers found evidence he also travelled to the US. Luke Wileman was identified as advising the gang on how to sell the drugs and suggested suitable clothing for Panayiotou and Attard to wear in order to pose as customs officers. Police arrested both Zavros and Wileman soon after their identification in April 2023 and July 2023 respectively.
A third man – Koby Haik – was also identified by detectives as being heavily involved in the conspiracy. Officers from the Met’s TSG attended his home on 5 April 2023 to arrest him. However, as they entered the address, and despite clearly identifying themselves as police, Haik stood at the top of the stairs armed with a baseball bat and fired two shots from a gun. Officers safely detained Haik and the recovered weapon was sent for ballistic analysis, which later confirmed that it was an imitation that contained blank rounds.
The group were subsequently charged, convicted and sentenced as follows:

Contantinos Zavros (24.04.1989) above of Carlton Avenue, Southgate, and Koby Haik (20.08.1992) below of Ashfield Road, Southgate

were both convicted of conspiracy to import cannabis, conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to steal (suitcases and passports). Haik was also convicted of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Luke Wileman (04.10.1991) of Faygate Lane, Horsham and Nicholas Panayiotou (17.11.1980) of Sawells, Broxbourne were both convicted of conspiracy to supply cannabis and conspiracy to steal. A charge of conspiracy to import cannabis against Panayiotou is to lie on file.
Zavros, Haik and Panayiotou were sentenced on 12 April at Isleworth Crown Court. Zavros was sentenced to six years, 11 months’ imprisonment. Haik was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment and Panayiotou was sentenced to four years, one month’s imprisonment. Wileman is due to be sentenced at the same court on 9 May.

Eleanar Attard, (13/06/1978), above of Sawells, Broxbourne was charged with theft of suitcases and passports. She was sentenced on 15 March at Isleworth Crown Court to 8 months’ imprisonment (suspended for 12 months) and ordered to carry out a 10-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

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