Bags containing hundreds of kilos of ‘cocaine’ are found by litter pickers after washing up on tourist beach in Dorset

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Bags containing hundreds of kilos of ‘cocaine’ are found by litter pickers after washing up on tourist beach in Dorset

A number of holdalls containing hundreds of kilos of what is thought to be cocaine has been discovered close to popular tourist destinations on the so

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A number of holdalls containing hundreds of kilos of what is thought to be cocaine has been discovered close to popular tourist destinations on the south coast – sparking a major police probe.

Further packages have been found by litter pickers on the Isle of Wight in what detectives describe as a ‘major hit’ for criminal gangs.

Thought to originate from South America, the huge mass of powder was discovered off St Aldhelm’s Point and Durdle Door in Dorset.

And as officers fear packages may be washed up along the south coast they are urging the public to report anything they find to the police.

Tracey Lake, the National Crime Agency’s senior investigating officer, said: ‘We believe this a significant amount of Class A drugs which would have originated in South America.

Hundreds of kilos of what is thought to be cocaine was discovered in a  'major hit' for criminal gangs

 Hundreds of kilos of what is thought to be cocaine was discovered in a  ‘major hit’ for criminal gangs

The discovery - which was first made by a fisherman - is currently being examined to confirm its contents and quantity

The discovery – which was first made by a fisherman – is currently being examined to confirm its contents and quantity

Thought to originate from South America, the huge mass of powder was discovered off St Aldhelm's Point and Durdle Door (pictured) in Dorset

Thought to originate from South America, the huge mass of powder was discovered off St Aldhelm’s Point and Durdle Door (pictured) in Dorset

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

‘Any additional suspect packages encountered by members of the public should be reported to the relevant Police force.’

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.’

The discovery – which was first made by a fisherman – is currently being examined to confirm its contents and quantity.

Now an extensive investigation is being carried out by the UK Border Force alongside Dorset and Hampshire Police. 

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

Officers fear packages may be washed up along the south coast they are urging the public to report anything they find to the police

Officers fear packages may be washed up along the south coast they are urging the public to report anything they find to the police

Now an extensive investigation is being carried out by the UK Border Force alongside Dorset and Hampshire Police

Now an extensive investigation is being carried out by the UK Border Force alongside Dorset and Hampshire Police

‘This work is ongoing, 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.’

He added: ‘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, 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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