UK: ′Record heroin seizure′ on container ship | News | DW | 04.09.2019
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UK: 'Record heroin seizure' on container ship

Millions of euros worth of heroin has been seized in the UK by border police. The shipment, weighing 1.3 tons, was heading for the Belgian city of Antwerp.

European police forces working together have uncovered the largest heroin smuggling attempt ever in the UK, the National Crime Agency revealed on Wednesday. £120 million (€133 million) worth of the Class A drug, amounting to almost 1.3 tons, was found hidden amongst towels and bathrobes on a container ship which docked at the southeastern English port of Felixstowe on August 30.

"This is a record heroin seizure in the UK and one of the largest ever in Europe," said Matt Horne, Deputy Director, Investigations of the UK National Crime Agency (NCA). The quantity is significantly more than the amount seized by German authorities in June of this year.

Individual packets of heroin divided up into plastic bags of 1kg each

The record heroin haul was divided into 1-kilogram packets and hidden in towels

The ship, MV Gibraltar, was heading for the Belgian city of Antwerp when Border Force officers and NCA in the UK on Friday seized 1.3 tons of the drug. Four people were later arrested in Rotterdam.

'A coverload of towels'

Felixstowe Border Force assistant director Jenny Sharp said "The smugglers had hidden the drugs within a coverload of towels, stitching the 1 kilogram blocks of heroin inside some of the towels. She added that "in total it took [her] officers nearly six hours, working in the early hours of Saturday morning, to remove the drugs."

National Crime Agency officers unload 1.3 tons of heroin in Felixstowe, England

NCA officers unload the 1.3 tons of heroin uncovered in Felixstowe, England

This comes less than a month later than a similar drug haul, weighing around 400 kilograms, was also found in Felixstowe on August 2. In a month where the strength and efficiency of EU border controls is under scrutiny, the efficiency of the NCA in responding is seen as of the utmost importance.

Heroin usage in Europe as a whole has been steadily decreasing over the last 10 years.

Deputy Director Horne added: "The size of this and other recent shipments demonstrate the scale of the threat we face."

ed/ng (AFP, dpa)

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