Multi-million pound drugs haul

PUBLISHED: 15:14 25 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:23 03 March 2010

AN attempt to smuggle a multi-million pound drugs shipment through the Port of Felixstowe has been foiled by the National Crime Squad it emerged today.

AN attempt to smuggle a multi-million pound drugs shipment through the Port of Felixstowe has been foiled by the National Crime Squad it emerged today.

Around three tonnes of cannabis resin was seized after a covert surveillance operation by undercover officers from the squad.

The Class B drug, which is believed to be worth about £8.5 million on the street, was recovered from an industrial estate in Harlow last night.

The shipment entered Britain via Felixstowe docks, the country's largest container port.

Two men, believed to be from Essex, were arrested at the Essex industrial unit on suspicion of drug

smuggling at around 6.30pm yesterday. The other two were arrested when NCS officers swooped nearby.

The four suspects were taken to a police station in Essex for questioning where they remained today.

A spokeswoman from the National Crime Squad – which headed the drugs investigation and raid – would not reveal at which station the men were being held or where they came from.

The men were held in custody over night for

detectives to continue quizzing them today.

NCS officers will have 24 hours from the time of arrest in which to decide whether to charge the quartet, apply for an extension to continue questioning them, or release them on bail.

The maximum sentence for smuggling cannabis is 14 years imprisonment.

Felixstowe port has been the scene – or a link in the chain – of a number of big drugs and bootleg-tobacco seizures in recent years.

An HM Customs and Excise headquarters is situated at the edge of the dock allowing customs investigators and sniffer dogs a constant on-site presence to inspect the huge sea traffic that passes through Suffolk every day.

In February last year, Yorkshire man Christopher Kershaw was jailed for nine years for attempting to smuggle £3.2m of cannabis through Felixstowe, hidden in the back of his lorry.

The 43-year-old truck driver from Stanley, near Wakefield, was arrested after a covert operation by Ipswich-based National Intelligence Service officers codenamed Operation Hawaii.

During the raid, 19 boxes of cannabis weighing a total of a tonne were discovered among a consignment of heavy machinery which Kershaw had brought back from Holland and Germany.

In the same month Ipswich youth worker Ian Claxton, was jailed for seven years for being part of an attempt to smuggle £3million of herbal cannabis through Felixstowe. The 41-year-old of Forfar Close supplied one of the lorries to transport the drugs. He also provided the office premises in Duke Street where it was stored.

Felixstowe port has links with more than 100

countries all over the world with boats arriving every day from different parts of the globe. Around 2,300 employees work at the port through which about 3,000,000 standard sized containers pass through every year.

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