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Beach drama over morning tea - Bawdsey

PUBLISHED: 22:00 28 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 March 2010

TRANQUILITY at the sleepy hamlet of Bawdsey Quay was shattered for grandmother Lilian Lloyd when she witnessed an armed raid on her doorstep over morning tea.

TRANQUILITY at the sleepy hamlet of Bawdsey Quay was shattered for grandmother Lilian Lloyd when she witnessed an armed raid on her doorstep over morning tea.

Mrs Lloyd told how she was admiring the views from her remote seaside home on May 3 last year when around 30 armed police descended on the beach in front of her.

The scene was like something out of a thriller, she said: "It was like being at the pictures."

Mrs Lloyd described how her first thought as she saw officers hold up four people at gunpoint, was that there had been a breakout from nearby Hollesley Bay Prison. "I thought 'Oh my god, this is frightening'," she said after the raid. "Eventually my neighbour told me that it was a drugs raid so although that is pretty awful, I did feel happier."

She did not realise that the drama disturbing her breakfast was one of the largest operations mounted by customs officers and police in East Anglia.

Like others in the quiet rural seaside spot, she had not noticed around 100 officers hidden away through Wednesday night, waiting to swoop on the high speed smuggling vessel when it arrived from Holland and arrest the traffickers there to collect their bounty.

Mrs Lloyd, who has lived in a former Ministry of Defence terraced property at Bawdsey Quay for quarter-of-a-century, said: "We have had borstal boys around here when they have escaped but nothing of this sort of magnitude. It was all a bit unnerving but once we knew what was happening it was a different matter.

"We felt glad it was so well organised by the police. I was just drinking a cup of tea in my living room when suddenly the quay was full of cars and the police with their guns. To begin with there were 30 police with guns. Then I looked out of my upstairs window and they arrested a young woman and three men," she said.

"The boat was a high-powered speed boat. It looked very unusual."

Access to Bawdsey Quay was sealed off while the police operation unfolded.

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