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Norfolk police chief says we need ‘ring of steel’ after £50m cocaine find on Hopton beach

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Norfolk Police and Crime Commisssioner Lorne Green. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2016

Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner wants to see a metaphorical “ring of steel” to protect the county from drug-dealing after 360 kilos of cocaine washed up on beaches.

The bags of cocaine seized from the beach (Picture: NCA)The bags of cocaine seized from the beach (Picture: NCA)

The drugs were found on Caister and Hopton beaches in holdalls over the last two days.
The Hopton holdalls were discovered by a member of the public and with Norfolk’s long, unprotected coastline, Mr Green said it was vital for the police and public to work together.

“I would like to see a metaphorical ring of steel around our county to keep out the terrible threats to our safety,” he said. “We have to be mindful of all entry points into the county.”

Police are currently targeting the supply and transport of drugs around Norfolk with a campaign called Operation Gravity.

The operation has focused on drugs coming into Norfolk from the main rail and road routes from London rather than on Norfolk’s 90-mile coastline.

But Mr Green said he had asked police two days ago what was being done on the coast to stop drugs coming into the county from coastal routes.

“I was advised the constabulary is mindful of the coasts as well,” Mr Green said. “We have to rely on the community to work with the constabulary.”

A Home Affairs Select Committee reported last year that there were just three Border Force boats patrolling 7,700 miles of Britain’s coastline at any one time. Italy, by comparison, had 600 vessels for 4,700 miles of coastline.

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