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Bananas Bust: UK's Largest Cocaine Haul Seized at Southampton Port

The largest-ever haul of Class A drugs in the UK, valued at £450 million, was intercepted in a shipment of bananas at Southampton Port.

(Image: NCA)

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and Border Force discovered 5.7 tonnes of cocaine in a container from South America on 8th February. The drugs were intended for the Port of Hamburg in Germany for further distribution.

The NCA is currently collaborating with international partners across Europe to identify the criminal networks involved.

The seizure surpasses the previous record in the UK, which was 3.7 tonnes of cocaine, also found in Southampton in 2022.

NCA director Chris Farrimond remarked, “This record-breaking seizure will represent a significant blow to the international organised crime cartels involved, denying them massive profits.

"While the consignment was destined for continental Europe, I have no doubt that a substantial portion would have ended up back here in the UK, being distributed by gangs.”

The NCA targets international networks, disrupting and dismantling them at every step, with international law enforcement cooperation being crucial to this mission.

“Working closely with UK partners like Border Force, we are determined to do all we can to protect the UK public,” Farrimond added.

The domestic cocaine market is believed to be dominated by criminal gangs, generating approximately £4 billion a year in the UK alone.

Tom Pursglove, Minister for legal migration and the border, stated, “This Government takes a zero-tolerance approach to the supply of illegal drugs, and I am grateful to dedicated Border Force officers and the NCA for their work to apprehend this record-breaking seizure.

"This seizure sends a clear message to criminals that they will be caught.”


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