Sky news linky A British couple suspected of trying to smuggle 24kg of cocaine are being held in one of the toughest prisons in South America. Paul Keith Makin and his wife Laura, who are both from Merseyside, have been locked up in San Antonio military jail on the Caribbean holiday island of Margarita. They are bedding down with 1,300 other inmates, nearly nine out of 10 of whom have been jailed for drugs related offences. The couple's four children, a seven and an eight-year-old and twins aged just two, are being looked after in a house on the island. A local woman, who was on the estate where they are being looked after, told Sky News the children were in good spirits and were playing in the large garden. A British woman was also there, but refused to speak to our reporter because of the legal implications. Back in the UK, the family's lawyer, John Wheate, said the main priority was to ensure the children were repatriated as soon as possible. "Most people would understand that the family are very distressed at this point of time," he said. "Not just for Paul and his partner, but very distressed that the children are with strangers in a foreign country and are very anxious to have them all home." On the beach in Venezuela, tourists were shocked at what the couple are alleged to have done. "Everybody knows, particularly in countries like this one, what happens if you get caught with drugs," said Liz Smith. The couple have still not been charged. They were seized at an airport on Margarita. One newspaper claims drugs officers were tipped off about the Makins before they arrived at departures. Consular officials from the British embassy are on the island, as the pair await the outcome of the police investigation.