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Criminals warned over drug smuggling after cannabis seized at port

John Freeman

Criminals looking to smuggle drugs and other items via Lancashire’s ports are being warned they are being watched following recent seizures, including one at Heysham last week.

In the last few months, officers from Lancashire Constabulary’s ports unit, working with police colleagues in the Isle of Man and port staff, have seized drugs worth over £315,000.

In the most recent incident in the early hours of Friday morning, officers stopped a vehicle at Heysham port and a search was carried out using a drugs dog. They discovered 76 bars of a brown resinous substance, believed to be 9oz bars of cannabis worth an estimated £50,000 inside the car’s boot.

A search of a vehicle in February revealed an attempt to take £125,000 worth of drugs across to the Isle of Man. During the TT races £140,000 worth of drugs were also seized.

Detective Superintendent Martin Kay, Lancashire Constabulary, said: “Criminals may try to take drugs in or out of the county via our ports but they should know that they are being watched very closely.

“We take the policing of our ports very seriously and will work with port teams, other agencies and police colleagues on both sides of the water to provide a visible and effective deterrent to cross border crime and to make sure that our busy ports are secure.”

He added: “We would ask residents to help us in this aim by reporting suspicious activity involving boats or aircraft, or around coastal areas.”

The warning comes after press reports raised fears that cuts in the numbers of Customs Officers were damaging Britain's ability to prevent smuggling into the UK.

In May, the Daily Telegraph reported that senior immigration officers had claimed operations to combat the influx of drugs, guns and other contraband into Britain have been placed effectively on hold at Heathrow, while other media reported similar concerns from officers in Liverpool.

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