Cocaine worth £76 million found in shipment of bananas

Cocaine with a street value of £76 million has been seized after being found in a shipment of bananas at Southampton.

The class A drugs were discovered by border officers within a shipping container onboard a ship during a routine inspection.

The cocaine, which weighed a total of 946 kilograms, was suspected to have been placed in the cargo in Colombia and was bound for Antwerp in Belgium.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This was drug smuggling on an industrial scale so I’m delighted that Border Force officers have prevented such a large quantity of dangerous goods from reaching our streets.

“Drugs devastate communities, line the pockets of serious criminals, and are a serious driver of the violence which ruin young lives right across the country.

“We are sending a strong signal to criminals in the UK and abroad seeking to smuggle drugs into or through the UK – your efforts will fail and we will use every part of our law enforcement powers to stop drugs from coming into the UK.”

Border Force officers discovered the drugs after identifying “anomalies” with the cargo in the container.

Tim Kingsberry, regional director for Border Force South, said: “This significant seizure has removed a large amount of dangerous drugs from the streets, which not only reduces the significant harm they cause to communities but also makes a huge dent in the profits of smugglers.”