Cocaine haul worth £10m discovered underwater near shipping container at Kent's Sheerness Port

A haul of cocaine worth £10m has been seized after divers found it underwater off the coast of Kent.

The drugs, which weighed 137kg (302lb), were discovered by the Border Force National Deep Rummage Team in four large North Face holdalls at Sheerness Port on 14 October.

They were hidden inside a sea chest in an area of a shipping container used to take in seawater for stability.

The container was Panama-registered and transporting bananas to the Netherlands, with the NCA now working with the authorities in both countries to trace the source of the cocaine.

It is one of two underwater concealments of class A drugs ever to be discovered off the UK coast.

In November 2021, 46kg (101.4 pounds) of cocaine was found during an operation in Bristol.

The Border Force team were assisted by specialist Met Police divers, who had to work in poor conditions.

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David Phillips, NCA's operations manager, said: "This was an extremely rare and sophisticated concealment, and shows how far criminal networks will go to get dangerous drugs like cocaine into circulation.

"The sale of such class A drugs is controlled by gangs who inflict violence and exploitation in our communities.

"I'd like to thank the Metropolitan Police's Diving Team, who worked in challenging conditions to recover the drugs, assisted by our colleagues in Border Force.

"Such collaboration shows our collective determination to tackle organised criminal groups head-on, and stem the supply of harmful drugs like cocaine."