Why bags of cocaine keep washing up on Britain’s south coast

A large quantity of suspected cocaine believed to be worth around £2m has washed up on a beach in Sussex – the latest in a string of drug finds along the south coast in recent weeks.

Police cordoned off part of Goring Beach, near Worthing, West Sussex, on Monday morning after receiving reports that a bag containing Class A drugs had been found.

Earlier this month, on October 2, fishermen found bags of suspected cocaine in a huge drift near Durdle Door, Dorset.

On October 7, cases containing hundreds of kilograms of white energy were discovered in the sea off the coast of Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

Just days later, on October 12, a bag containing suspected cocaine washed up on a beach in Ferring, also in West Sussex.

Following the latest find in Goring, Sussex Police said the packages would be taken for forensic examination along with substances found “in Selsey on October 19, Middleton and Felpham on October 13 and Ferring on October 12.

Police cordoned off part of Goring Beach, near Worthing, West Sussex, on Monday after packages of suspected cocaine were found

(Sussex Police)

The force said it was working with partner agencies to trace the source of the drugs and reminded the public of “the dangers of illegal drugs” and urged people not to touch them or try to remove them if found.

It is believed Monday's find and discoveries earlier this month could be linked to the October 2 incident, when hundreds of kilograms of cocaine were flown into the Solent by smugglers. The word “POPI” was marked on some of the packaging in that recall and at least two seizures since.

The National Crime Agency is investigating the findings and believes the drugs originated in South America, where most of the world's cocaine supply comes from.

“We believe this is a significant quantity of class A drugs that would have come from South America,” said Tracey Lake, a senior NCA officer, after the October 2 discovery.

The word ‘POPI' has appeared on some packaging


“Losing a batch of this size would be a significant blow to the criminal networks involved.”

He added: “Our investigation is being assisted by both Dorset and Hampshire Constabulary and the Border Force.

“Any additional suspicious packages encountered by members of the public should be reported to the relevant police force.”

The UK cocaine market is estimated to be worth more than £25.7 million a day in England, Scotland and Wales, according to the NCA's latest strategic threat assessment.

In its latest strategic threat assessment, the NCA, the UK's main agency for tackling organized crime, says the cocaine market is estimated to be worth more than £25.7m a day in England, Scotland and Wales.

In the year ending March 2022, there were 188,929 drug seizures in England and Wales with the amount of cocaine seized at a high level.

The amount of Class A seized rose by 68 per cent to 18,767kg, with the vast majority of drugs found by Border Force.