Surge in drug smuggling operations thwarted in North East Lincolnshire
NEW ways of working, better intelligence and a little bit of luck has led to a surge in the amount of smuggling operations being thwarted in North East Lincolnshire.
As reported, since June 1, Border Force officials have seized drugs valued at an estimated £6.5-million hidden in loads of coal being transported into Immingham from Puerto Prodeco in Columbia.
And, on Tuesday, August 28, another 10 kilos of cocaine were found concealed in a lorry on a ferry from Rotterdam, leading to the arrest and release on bail of a 50-year-old Polish man in an unlinked operation.
However, it is not only drugs that the team are preventing entering the UK.
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Border Force spokesman Sam Bullimore said: "It's not just class A drugs we're on the lookout for.
"We are also preventing human trafficking, as well as illegal cigarettes and weapons being smuggled into the country."
He added that since taking up his role three months ago, changes had been made to the methods used by the team and it was proving fruitful.
He said: "We have looked at how we do our business. It's not easy to find such a relatively small amount of illegal substances among millions of tonnes of cargo.
"It's been a combination of things. We have had good intelligence and we've focused a bit more on that kind of work.
"We've had a little bit of luck as well. There is no one single thing."
News of the latest seizure has also been welcomed by Quentin Dowse, the manager of North East Lincolnshire's Drug and Alcohol Action Team.
He said that not only would it mean there were fewer drugs on the streets, it would also help to strengthen the resolve of those trying to kick the habit.
He said: "Cocaine is not a massive issue in North East Lincolnshire, though it is used by some people.
"It's likely much of these drugs would be destined for outside our area.
"That said, any reduction is always helpful.
"Also, if you speak to people in drug treatment – who have got a problem, but have made up their minds to get clean – they love to hear of these things too.
"It helps stop them falling back into drugs in the future."