COCAINE worth £8.7m has been found in a banana ship in Portsmouth.
Border Force officers seized 175kg of the Class A drug on board a ship carrying bananas from Columbia in a joint investigation with the National Crime Agency (NCA).
The drugs, bound for Belgium, were found when the ship docked in Portsmouth.
The drugs were found in the hold of the vessel, in containers carrying thousands of boxes of bananas.
The cocaine had been split into small packages hidden within the cardboard of the boxes.
Border Force South Regional Director Carole Upshall said: ‘This seizure has prevented a vast quantity of cocaine from reaching its destination. We are committed to playing our part in the fight against serious and organised crime and are on constant alert at the borders to prevent the trade in drugs like cocaine.
‘Working with the National Crime Agency we are determined to do all we can to tackle the criminal groups behind smuggling.’
Malcolm Bragg, from the NCA’s Border Policing Command, said: ‘This joint operation is an example of the intelligence-led, co-ordinated action being taken to protect our borders.
‘We will continue to work closely with partners here and overseas to tackle the illegal drug trade.’