£80 million of cocaine found washed up on UK coast

25 May 2021, 17:34

The drugs were discovered in Hastings and Newhaven, East Sussex
The drugs were discovered in Hastings and Newhaven, East Sussex. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

Almost a tonne of cocaine has been found washed up on the shore in East Essex, the National Crime Agency has said.

They were discovered on Monday by passers-by, who informed the police of their discovery.

Police retrieved the packages - which had been put in waterproof bags and attached to life jackets to float - and moved them to a secure location.

The combined weight is around 960kg, which has an estimated street value of £80 million, if it were to be cut up and sold.

Samples of the packages tested positive for cocaine, but a full forensic examination is yet to be carried out.

The drugs are believed to have come from South America, though nothing has been confirmed.

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The packages were in waterproof bags and attached to life jackets
The packages were in waterproof bags and attached to life jackets. Picture: PA

Two separate loads were found - one in Hastings and one in Newhaven.

NCA officers are investigating further to find out more about how the two consignments are linked.

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Around a tonne of cocaine was found on the beach
Around a tonne of cocaine was found on the beach. Picture: PA

The NCA branch commander, Martin Grace, said: "This is a significant amount of Class A drugs which we think originated in South America, but we are keeping an open mind about how the drugs washed up here and where the end destination might have been.

"Clearly though, losing a consignment of this size this will represent a significant hit to the criminal networks involved."

He added: "Our investigation is being assisted by both Sussex Police and Border Force, and is also likely to involve international partners."

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