Cornwall

£80m of cocaine found on fishing trawler near Falmouth

Border Force officers
Image caption About 50 bags of the Class A drug were found

More than a tonne of cocaine with a street value of £80m was recovered from a vessel off the English coast.

Officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Border Force boarded the British-registered converted fishing trawler just south of Falmouth in Cornwall on Thursday.

They discovered approximately 50 bags of the drug on the vessel, named Bianca.

All three crew were charged with importing cocaine.

The owner of the boat, Michael McDermott, 67, and the crew, Gerald Van De Kooij, 26, and David Pleasants, 57, were remanded in custody by Bodmin Magistrates' Court.

Their next hearing is at Bristol Crown Court on 20 September.

Image caption The British-registered vessel was intercepted just south of Falmouth

Mike Stepney, from the Border Force, said: "This is one of the most significant drugs seizures ever made in the UK.

"By working closely with the NCA and other partners, we were able to intercept this vessel before it could deliver its £80m cargo to the UK."

Mark Harding, of the National Crime Agency, added: "A seizure on this scale is likely have a significant disruptive impact right along the supply chain, leaving criminals with large debts to be covered.

"And it will have knock-on effects, disrupting further criminality that would have been funded by the profits of this venture."