Royal Navy scores second drugs bust in fortnight

Royal Navy scores second drugs bust in fortnight

A Royal Navy ship seized 320kg of cannabis worth £1 million just days after docking in Gibraltar.

This is the second Mediterranean drugs bust by the Royal Navy within a fortnight after a further £3million of the class B drug was previously recovered.

HMS St Albans, which called here last weekend, stopped the drug smugglers during a routine security patrol and seized around £1million worth of cannabis.

Pictured is one of the packages that was opened onboard HMS St Albans to reveal blocks of cannabis resin.  The Royal Navy has carried out its second drugs bust in the Mediterranean in as many weeks with HMS St Albans Having left Portsmouth on a nine month deployment less that a fortnight ago the Type 23 frigate stopped the drug smugglers during a routine security patrol and prevented  narcotics reaching European markets. It is the second drugs bust carried out by a Royal Navy vessel in the area in the past two weeks,  While on patrol, HMS St Albans spotted a small boat acting suspiciously and so launched her Merlin helicopter, this spooked the small boat crew who then tossed several large packages into the water before speeding off into the dusk. St Albans’ Second in Command, Lieutenant Commander Jeff Gulliver, said: “The Mediterranean is a well known smuggling route for drugs into Europe and the UK. The team have trained long and hard at home for tasks such as this. Having only just deployed from UK last Monday, it is great for them to prove themselves so soon. I’m proud of my sailors for reacting so quickly and helping to keep these drugs off the streets.” Providing an eye in the sky was a Merlin Mk 2 helicopter from 829 Naval Air Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall.  Lieutenant Commander Lauren Hulston, who is in charge of the Merlin Flight, added: “This was the perfect demonstration of the versatility and capability of a Merlin and its crew. With the ability to send live imagery back to the ship, the team was able to act quickly to disrupt this drug smuggling activity and recover a lot of the cannabis. We hope it’s the first of many on this nine month deployment.” St Albans is on a nine month deployment, protecting UK interests’ worldwide and will return to UK shores next summer.

Pictured is one of the packages that was opened onboard HMS St Albans to reveal blocks of cannabis resin.

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She had left Portsmouth on a nine month deployment less than a fortnight ago.

“After just two weeks on operations HMS St Albans is already having a tangible effect in ensuring the security of the UK by keeping these illicit drugs off our streets,” said Armed Forces Minister Penny Mordaunt.

This is the second time the Royal Navy had recovered drugs within the past two weeks. HMS Richmond had previously recovered 1,015kg of cannabis worth around £3million.

On patrol HMS St Albans spotted a small boat acting suspiciously and launched her Merlin helicopter.

“This spooked the small boat crew who then tossed several large packages into the water before speeding off into the dusk,” a Royal Navy statement detailed.

A sea boat was then sent to investigate the packages and the drugs were found.

On the recent drug seizures St Albans’ Second in Command, Lieutenant Commander Jeff Gulliver said the Mediterranean is a “well known smuggling route for drugs into Europe and the UK” and added the team had trained “long and hard” ahead of the deployment.

In charge of the Merlin Flight was Lieutenant Commander Lauren Hulston who commended her team and hopes to continue this work through their nine deployment.

STOCK Picture: HMS St Albans, a Type 23 Portsmouth-based Frigate

STOCK Picture: HMS St Albans, a Type 23 Portsmouth-based Frigate

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