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Cocaine seizures rise to 11-year high

Published 03/11/2016

Authorities confiscated 9,321lb of cocaine in England and Wales in 2015/16
Authorities confiscated 9,321lb of cocaine in England and Wales in 2015/16

The amount of cocaine seized by police and the Border Force has surged to the highest level in more than a decade, new figures show.

Authorities confiscated 9,321lb (4,228kg) of the class A drug in England and Wales in 2015/16.

It was a rise of a quarter compared with the previous year and the largest quantity since 2004, a Home Office report said. T he jump was driven by a 31% increase in the quantity of cocaine seized by Border Force officials.

There was also a sharp increase in the amount of herbal cannabis recovered, doubling from 33,300lb ( 15,105kg) to 67,226lb (30,493kg) - the highest level since 2008/09.

The report said the large increase was down to a 159% rise in Border Force seizures.

Overall, the number of drug seizures plunged by just over a tenth to 148,553 in 2015/16 - the fourth consecutive annual fall. Seizures of cannabis and cocaine fell by 12% and 1% respectively, the figures showed.

The report said the total number of drug seizures each year is "highly correlated" with the number of drug offences recorded by police.

In 2015/16, there was a 13% fall in drug offences logged by forces, with the number dropping by 39% since a peak seen in 2008/09.

Immigration minister Robert Goodwill said: "Border Force officers will continue to work tirelessly with domestic and international law enforcement colleagues to stop dangerous drugs at the border, preventing untold damage to our communities.

"Whether it is heroin stitched into the lining of a suitcase or more than three tonnes of cocaine deeply concealed in a North Sea tug boat, Border Force stands prepared to stop the traffickers in their tracks and find their dangerous cargo before it reaches the UK."

Press Association

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