£6.5m cocaine haul found on banana boat

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Cocaine with a street value of £6.5m has been found on a container ship bringing bananas and pineapples to the UK.

In a joint operation between the British Border Force and Dutch authorities, 33kg of the illegal drug was discovered on the vessel Hope Bay after it arrived at Portsmouth from Santa Marta in Colombia on April 30.

A further 32kg of cocaine, worth £3.2m, was found when the ship underwent a further examination on arrival in Flushing, Holland, after Dutch authorities were tipped off by their British counterparts.

Border Force spokesman Andy Lumb said: “As this detection shows, our officers are on constant alert, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to keep drugs, other smuggled goods and illegal persons out of the UK.

“We are determined to prevent this terrible trade which can have such a destructive impact on the lives of so many.”

Inquiries are ongoing by Border Force, and Dutch and French customs investigators.