Over 220,000 seizures of illegal drugs seized

Police forces and Border Force helped to break criminal gangs’ supply chain, keep our borders secure and communities safe by seizing millions of illicit drugs.

During the period, seizures of Class A drugs increased by 17% and despite seizures of cocaine down by 6% the overall quantity of cocaine seized increased by 161% to 11,148kg. In total, there were 17,641 seizures of cocaine in 2020 to 2021.

For the third year running, the number of drug seizures made by Border Force for all drug types has increased – up 79 per cent from 2019/20 – driven by intelligence led approaches to head-off drugs and the proceeds of drugs as they cross the UK border.

The vast majority (89%) of all drug seizures were made by police forces, with the remaining 11% made by Border Force. Although police forces were responsible for more seizures, Border Force seized a much greater quantity of drugs.

During the period, Border Force and the police seized the following quantities:

  • for Class A seizures, 11,148 kg of cocaine, 1,973 kg of heroin and 1.4 million doses of ecstasy
  • for Class B seizures, 17,213 kg of herbal cannabis, 1,990 kg of cannabis resin, and 187 kg of ketamine
  • for Class C seizures, 1.64 million doses of anabolic steroids, 55 kg of GHB and 415,000 doses of temazepam

Working in partnership, local police forces, Border Force, the National Crime Agency and international partners use intelligence and technology to keep our borders safe, prevent drug trafficking and bring those responsible to justice.

I continue to back the police and Border Force to use all available law enforcement powers to stop drugs from coming into our country and go after the kingpins destroying communities.

Policing and Crime Minister Kit Malthouse said:

These seizures mean some nasty villains out there are nursing huge losses and probably can’t pay their debts. Good.

Drug gangs ruin lives and dismantling their conspiracies for good means breaking their businesses and destroying their profits. Well done to the Border Force and the police for tackling this head on.

Steve Dann, Border Force Chief Operating Officer said:

Drug supply chains are violent and exploitative, impacting communities across the UK.

These seizures send a clear message to anyone prepared to smuggle illegal drugs into the country that we remain committed and prepared to tackle drug supply chains.

Border Force Officers involved in these seizures can be proud of their work in stopping these dangerous drugs from entering our communities.

Since the period covered by these statistics, Border Force have continued to make major seizures, including:

  • on 6 January 2022, Border Force officers working a Southampton Container Port, seized 103kgs of cocaine that had been concealed within a container of 20 pallets of bananas.
  • on inspection, Border Force officers discovered four holdalls, each found to contain approximately 25 wrapped packages which tested positive for the presence of cocaine
  • the container had recently arrived from Colombia on board the Merchant Vessel Maersk Bali. The container was selected for examination by the officers who identified an anomaly when it was scanned
  • Border Force estimates that the street value of the cocaine is £7.5 million

Securing the border to crack down on supply chains and criminal gangs profiting from the trade in illegal drugs is a key part of the government’s 10-year Drug Strategy to tackle the harms caused by drug misuse.

The strategy will see £300 million invested in pursuing and closing down the ruthless gangs who exploit and threaten our most vulnerable in society for financial gain through the illegal drugs trade and £780 million invested in treatment and recovery.

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