Essex

Tinned tuna shipment used to hide £50m cocaine stash

Cocaine stashed in holdalls Image copyright PA
Image caption The drugs were found hidden in holdalls in the shipment of tuna

Customs officials landed a big catch when they found cocaine worth more than £50m stashed in a shipment of tinned tuna.

About 500kg (1,100lb) of the class A drug was discovered in eight holdalls at London Gateway Port in Essex by Border Force staff on Monday.

The drugs originated in Ecuador and were shipped to the UK via Belgium.

It was described it as a "substantial find" that would have "significantly disrupted" criminal activity.

The cocaine is thought to have been destined for mainland Europe but Matthew Rivers, from the National Crime Agency's (NCA) Border Policing Command, said it was "likely a proportion would still have ended up back in the UK".

More on this and other news from Essex

The discovery was the largest-ever drugs find at the port in Stanford-le-Hope, according to Border Force assistant director Mike Kennedy.

Image copyright PA
Image caption It is believed the drugs were destined for mainland Europe

When adulterated and sold to drug-users, the shipment would have been worth more than £50m, he added.

The NCA is now trying to establish the source of the shipment.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites