Cocaine: Significant amounts of drug found washed up on England's south coast, says NCA

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Fisherman and beach-cleaners have stumbled across a 'significant' amount of washed-up cocaine

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has begun an investigation after recovering a significant amount of what is thought to be cocaine in holdalls along the south coast of England.

Hundreds of kilos of the drug were found in the sea off St Aldhelm’s Point and Durdle Door in Dorset on 2 October by a fisherman. A second batch was discovered by litter-pickers on the west coast of the Isle of Wight on Saturday 7 October, the NCA said.

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The packages are currently being examined to confirm their contents and quantity, but they are thought to have come from South America.

One package was found on the Isle of Wight (Image: National Crime Agency)One package was found on the Isle of Wight (Image: National Crime Agency)
One package was found on the Isle of Wight (Image: National Crime Agency) | National Crime Agency

NCA senior investigating officer Tracey Lake said: “We believe this a significant amount of Class A drugs which would have originated in South America. A loss of a consignment of this size would represent a significant hit to the criminal networks involved.

“Our investigation is being assisted by both Dorset and Hampshire police as well as Border Force. Any additional suspect packages encountered by members of the public should be reported to the relevant police force."

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Farrell, of Dorset Police, said: “Officers from our marine team, supported by colleagues from across the Force and HM Coastguard have been working tirelessly with the NCA and Border Force to recover these suspect packages.

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“Searches remain ongoing and I would ask anyone who finds a holdall or similar package in suspect circumstances to please not touch the item, but contact Dorset Police immediately.

“We remain committed to joining forces with our partner agencies to relentlessly pursue criminals and organised gangs suspected of being involved in drug supply offences so that we can keep the public safe.”

Police said they were trying to contact one of the litter-picking group, a man in his 60s, who found the drugs.

“There is a member of the litter picking group, a man in his 60s, who we want to make contact with, as we continue to speak with everyone in the vicinity, and we would ask him to get in touch with us,” said ACC Murray.

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“He is of slim build, around 5ft 6in tall and had short grey hair, with a birthmark on the right side of his mouth.

“Anyone who does locate any suspicious packages should call 999, with our call handlers able to provide further advice.”

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