22 May 2024

Four arrested over £40m drugs seizure at village pub

Communities in Holderness have reacted with shock after four men were arrested over the discovery of cocaine with a street value of about £40 million in a van behind a pub in Lelley.

The men were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to import class A drugs at around 8.30am on Saturday, May 4, in in the small village near Preston, after about 500kg of cocaine was found in the back of a Vauxhall Vivaro van in the car park of the Stags Head Inn.

It followed a National Crime Agency operation that was supported by Humberside Police, the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit and Border Force.

It is believed that the drugs had been transferred from a larger vessel sailing off the coast of Hull using a RIB a few hours before. The smaller boat was found abandoned on rocks at Easington beach.

A grandmother-of-two from Easington, who did not want to be named, said: “It is a shock that something like this could happen in the area. Easington is generally a quiet village, so for something like this to happen here, and also in Lelley, is a huge shock – it’s like something out of a film.”

Another local man told the Gazette: “There was a lot of police activity near the caravan site on Friday night into Saturday morning and a lot of rumours already circulating – it sounded like Miami Vice to me!

“It’s crazy that they apparently used a boat to land the drugs in Easington and they were then found in Lelley – it’s hardly the drugs capital of the world, is it?”

The four men remain in custody and are now being questioned by National Crime Agency investigators. They are a 22-year-old from Argyll, a 32-year-old from Oban, a 24-year-old from Campbeltown and a 39-year-old from Colombia.

NCA senior investigating officer Alan French said: “This was a significant amount of cocaine and its seizure will be a sizeable blow to the organised crime group which attempted to smuggle it into the UK.

“There’s no doubt these drugs would have been sold into communities around the UK, fuelling further crime and exploitation.

“Working with our law enforcement partners we are determined to do all we can to disrupt criminal activity, and protect the UK’s border security.

“Our investigation continues following these arrests.”