Huge cocaine haul washes up on beaches in Dorset and the Isle of Wight

Credit: NCA

Holdalls containing hundreds of kilos of powder, believed to be cocaine, have been discovered in the sea off the coast of Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

The National Crime Agency has begun an investigation after recovering a significant quantity of the Class A drug.

The initial find was made by a fisherman close to St Aldhelm's Point and Durdle Door in Purbeck on Monday 2 October. He then alerted Dorset Police.

Some of the drugs were found by litter pickers on the Isle of Wight Credit: NCA

Then on Saturday, 7 October, a group of litter pickers found a further quantity washed up on the south coast of the Isle of Wight near St Catherine’s Lighthouse.

The packages are currently being examined to confirm their contents and quantity.

NCA senior investigating officer Tracey Lake said: “We believe this a significant amount of class A drugs which would have originated in South America.

"A loss of a consignment of this size would represent a significant hit to the criminal networks involved.

“Our investigation is being assisted by both Dorset and Hampshire Police as well as Border Force. Any additional suspect packages encountered by members of the public should be reported to the relevant Police force”

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Farrell, of Dorset Police, said: “Officers from our marine team, supported by colleagues from across the Force and HM Coastguard have been working tirelessly with the NCA and Border Force to recover these suspect packages.

“Searches remain ongoing and I would ask anyone who finds a holdall or similar package in suspect circumstances to please not touch the item, but contact Dorset Police immediately.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary’s ACC Stuart Murray said: "We have been supporting the ongoing investigation with searches across the West Wight today, after a number of packages were discovered this morning by a group who were out litter picking.

"This work is ongoing, and you will continue to see police throughout the evening and into tomorrow, and we would ask anyone who finds any suspicious bags or packages on the coastline of Hampshire and the Island to get in touch with us immediately.

"There is a member of the litter picking group, a man in his 60s, who we want to make contact with as we continue to speak with everyone in the vicinity this morning, and we would ask him to get in touch with him.

"He is of slim build, around 5ft 6ins tall and had short grey hair, with a birth mark on the right side of his mouth.

"Anyone who does locate any suspicious packages should call 999, with our call handlers able to provide further advice.

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