Officers discovered 222kg of cannabis following a search of an unaccompanied refrigerated container which had arrived at the port from Ghana.
In an attempt to evade detection, the smugglers had hidden the drugs inside sacks of cassava dough.
Border Force assistant director at Tilbury Mark Kennedy said:
The smugglers had hoped that our x-ray scanners would be unable to penetrate the dense dough and detect the blocks of drugs hidden within.
The refrigerated container added an extra challenge for my officers because it meant that much of the dough had been frozen solid, making it harder to spike the sacks to feel for anomalies.
Smugglers are always looking for new ways of hiding their illicit cargo and it is our job, as this case demonstrates, to stay one step ahead of them.
In total 67 sacks of cassava dough were individually searched. Due to the complexity of the concealment it took several days to retrieve all the drugs.
Following the seizure on 29 May by Border Force, the investigation was passed to the National Crime Agency who have today (10 June) agreed that details of the detection can be made public.
Mark Kennedy said:
By making this seizure, worth an estimated £625,000, Border Force officers have prevented a substantial quantity of dangerous class B drugs from ending up on the streets of the UK and put a serious dent in the profits of the criminals involved in this type of smuggling.
Border Force officers are the front line in protecting the country and play a key role in detecting illegal immigration, disrupting serious and organised crime and helping to prevent the threat of terrorism. Border Force also protects the UK’s revenue, contributing to the nation’s prosperity and growth.
They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.
Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling can call our hotline on 0800 59 5000.