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Irish captain among three charged after £80m of cocaine found on trawler

Border Force officers
Image caption The National Crime Agency (NCA) said more than a tonne of cocaine was seized from the boat

The Irish owner and captain of a converted fishing trawler has been charged with importing cocaine after police boarded his vessel off south Cornwall.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said more than a tonne of cocaine was seized from the boat.

The drugs had an estimated street value of £80m.

Michael McDermott, 67, was remanded in custody at Bodmin Magistrates' Court on Saturday.

Two other men - Dutchman Gerald Van De Kooij, 26, and Briton David Pleasants, 57 - were also charged and remanded in custody.

Officers from the National Crime Agency 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.

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

Image caption Border Force boarded the British-registered converted fishing trawler 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."

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