Man in court after £1million cocaine find at Harwich port

The cocaine found at Harwich

The cocaine found at Harwich - Credit: Archant

A man has appeared in court after the Border Force discovered cocaine with an estimated street value of £1 million at the Port of Harwich.

Officers discovered the 17kgs of cocaine shortly before 7am on Monday following a search of a lorry. The vehicle had arrived at the port on a ferry from the Hook of Holland.

The lorry was pulling a trailer carrying a mixed load of legitimate goods including domestic cleaning products, car tyres and car stereos.

Border Force assistant director at Harwich Charlotte Mann said: “By making this seizure, worth an estimated £1m, Border Force officers have prevented a substantial quantity of dangerous class A drugs from ending up on the streets of the UK and put a serious dent in the profits of the criminals involved in this type of smuggling.

“Working with our colleagues at the National Crime Agency we are determined to do all we can to stop drug traffickers. Those convicted of drug importation offences face considerable prison sentences.”

Following the seizure by Border Force, the investigation has been passed to the National Crime Agency.

A 52-year-old Dutch man, Richard Jan Van Altena, has been charged with importing a Class A drug.

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He appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates Court yesterday where he entered a not guilty plea and was remanded in custody to appear at Chelmsford Crown Court on July 27.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.