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22nd Jul 2018

Two tonnes of cocaine seized on boat off the coast of Cornwall

Two Dutch nationals have been arrested following the interception.

Kyle Picknell

Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of the class A drug was found in a hidden compartment on the boat

Two Dutch men – Maarten Peter Pieterse, 59, and Emile Adriaan Jeroen Schoemaker, 44 – have been remanded and charged following the second biggest seizure of cocaine in the UK.

Almost two tonnes of the Class A drug was discovered aboard a yacht 120 miles off the coast of Cornwall, after which the vessel was escorted by police 120 miles to the small Cornish town of Nelwyn.

Border Patrol officials found dozens of bales of cocaine wrapped in plastic hidden beneath the decking area at the stern of the boat.

Andy Quinn, the National Crime Agency’s regional head of investigations, said: “This is one of the largest seizures of class A ever in the UK, and with a potential street value likely to be in the hundreds of millions.

“While the end destination is unclear at this stage, I’ve no doubt that this was destined for the European market. At least a proportion of this cocaine would have ended up here in the UK, sold by drugs gangs who are also involved in intimidation, exploitation and violence.

“This seizure will be a major hit to the international criminal networks involved.”

Pietrse and Schoemaker appeared before Bristol magistrates court on Saturday via video link. Pietrse did not enter a plea whilst Schoemaker pleaded guilty. They will remain in custody and are due to appear at Bristol crown court on August 20.

The largest seizure occurred in 2015 off the coast of the Scottish city Aberdeen, when £512 million (around three tonnes) was captured.