£1 million worth of cocaine hidden in face masks seized at Channel Tunnel

Smugglers have been caught trying to bring £1 million worth of cocaine, hidden in face masks, into the UK via the Channel Tunnel.

Border Force officers seized 14 kilos of the drug on Tuesday from a Polish-registered van at the UK control zone in Coquelles in France.

A box filled with 15 wrapped packages was found in the van which was transporting protective face masks.

The packages were tested and proved positive for cocaine.

Credit: National Crime Agency

The driver, a 34-year-old Polish national, was arrested. He remains in custody for questioning.

The National Crime Agency is now investigating.

The masks have been detained pending checks by regulators.

The operations manager at the Dover branch of the National Crime Agency said the seizure is "further evidence of the way criminal networks are attempting to exploit the coronavirus outbreak to their own ends" by "covering this load of drugs with what would seem like vital protective equipment".

Border Force officers use sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners, as well as visual searches, to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise reach the UK.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to this website.