Cocaine with a street value of £8.25m (€9.91m) was found hidden in machinery at one of the UK’s biggest ports, investigators said today.
The haul was found inside industrial digger machinery at Tilbury, Essex, said UK Border Agency officials.
Investigators said the drugs were found in three pieces of machinery shipped by container from Surinam and destined for Holland.
A UK Border Agency spokesman described the discovery as “the biggest single detection of class A drugs at the port in six years”.
The spokesman said the drugs had been found on Friday and experts had spent the past few days searching the machinery.
He added: “Sections of the machinery had been hollowed out and then filled with 145 individual packages of the Class A drug, totalling 166kg.”
Marc Owen, one of the agency’s directors, said the discovery showed the lengths to which smugglers would go.
“In an attempt to evade detection by our X-ray scanners the drugs had been encased in a thick resin within the machinery,” he said.
“Specialised cutting equipment was required to dismantle the machinery and then the solid resin had to be chiselled away to reach the drugs.”
He added: “The actions of our officers at Tilbury have prevented a massive quantity of cocaine from flooding the European market.”