Blockbuster Cocaine Seizure Hits UK Record: 5.7 tonnes

In what is believed to be the largest ever seizure of class A drugs in the UK, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Border Force have intercepted a staggering 5.7 tonnes of cocaine.

The 5.7-tonne haul of cocaine was found in a container at Southampton Port on 8 February. The blocks of drugs were found hidden within a cargo of bananas which had been transported from South America.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the drugs were heading to Hamburg in Germany and inquiries were ongoing to identify the criminals involved.

Based on UK street-level prices the cocaine would likely have had an estimated value in excess of £450 million.

The previous record was 3.7 tonnes of cocaine, also at Southampton, in 2022. Another 3.2 tonnes were found on-board the tug boat MV Hamal in Scotland in 2015.

The domestic cocaine market is dominated by criminal gangs who the NCA believe to be making around £4 billion a year in the UK alone.

Chris Farrimond, NCA director, said: “While the destination for the consignment was continental Europe in this case, I have no doubt that a significant proportion would have ended up back here in the UK, being peddled by UK criminal gangs.

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

Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, Tom Pursglove MP, said: “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. Our Border Force officers continue to work relentlessly to protect our borders and ensure the safety and security of the public.”