1. ITV Report

HMS Dragon deals second blow to drug runners with £1.6m narcotics seizure

HMS Dragon crew with drugs seized from a sailing vessel Photo:

HMS Dragon has dealt another hammer blow to drug funding of terrorism with her second major narcotics bust in under a fortnight.

Marines and commandos on board the ship, which is based in Portsmouth, seized drugs worth £1.6 million.

The Type 45 destroyer pounced on a sailing vessel known as a dhow to uncover a half-tonne haul of heroin and hashish and 9kg of crystal meth.

The ship was patrolling the route between Iran, Pakistan and East Africa when one of her officers - Lieutenant Jonathan Bennett - spied a "suspicious" looking dhow far from the usual shipping lanes at the weekend.

We sent the boarding teams in the sea boats to talk to the crew. Their answers raised our suspicions further, and so we commenced the boarding. Following a search by our trained teams we were able to locate and recover these narcotics, stopping their onward likely travel into Europe and the United Kingdom, as well as disrupting the funding of illicit activity."

– Lt Jonathan Bennett
Crew sorting through haul of crystal meth, heroin and hashish

It's believed the drugs haul, which is estimated to be worth at least £1.6m, would have been sold for much more money on British streets had it reached these shores.

The narcotics, which were seized during a 12-hour operation, were later destroyed by the ship's crew

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson praised HMS Dragon's "capability" and the Navy's role in thwarting drug smuggling.

Once again, HMS Dragon has demonstrated the strength, capability and global reach of our Royal Navy. I am incredibly proud of her crew as they confirm the UK’s crucial role in tackling the illegal and destructive global drugs trade.”

– Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson
Dhow sailing vessel

HMS Dragon will be away over the Christmas period as she continues to patrol the high seas.