WATCH: £120million UK record heroin haul found wrapped in towels at Felixstowe
PUBLISHED: 00:01 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:52 04 September 2019
A record amount of heroin with a street value of £120million has been found wrapped in towels at Felixstowe just weeks after another similar multi-million pound haul.
The staggering 1,297kg shipment was stopped at the port on Friday, August 30 following an international investigation, preventing organised crime groups from cashing in on millions of pounds worth of the Class A drug.
It is said the haul, which would be worth £27m to gangs, was en route to Antwerp before being searched by officers from Border Force and the National Crime Agency (NCA) - who found the substance concealed among a load of towels and bathrobes.
They returned the container to the vessel in the hopes of bringing those involved to justice.
Officers from Dutch and Belgian law enforcement agencies tracked the container to a warehouse in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, where four people were arrested in the process of unloading the consignment.
NCA deputy director Matt Horne, said: "The size of this and other recent shipments demonstrate the scale of the threat we face. We can be certain that some of these drugs would eventually have been sold in the UK, fuelling high levels of violence and exploitation including what we see in county lines offending nationwide.
"The heroin trade also feeds addictions that put users' lives at risk, while giving rise to crime such as theft which make people feel unsafe in their homes and communities."
Alarmingly, the seizure comes just a matter of weeks after another heroin seizure at the port on August 2, where 398kg of the drug with an estimated value of £40m was apprehended.
The shipment was also destined for Rotterdam via Antwerp, although it is not currently known if the two instances are linked.
Jenny Sharp, border force assistant director at Felixstowe, added: "This is a huge seizure - there is no other word for it given the quantities involved - which has kept dangerous drugs off the streets of the UK and mainland Europe.
"It speaks well of the effective work we do with our law enforcement partners at home and abroad and I'm extremely proud of all the officers involved.
"The smugglers had hidden the drugs within a coverload of towels, stitching the 1kg blocks of heroin inside some of the towels. In total it took my officers nearly six hours - working in the early hours of Saturday morning - to remove the drugs."