Attleborough man charged after four tonnes of cannabis seized

A Norfolk man has been charged with trying to import one of the biggest single hauls of cannabis ever uncovered off the UK's sourthern shores.

The dramatic discovery of four tonnes of the illegal drug, which has an estimated street value of �12m, was made by UK Border Agency officers on a board a Dutch-registered yacht sailing off the Sussex coastline.

Four men have subsequently been charged with the the importation of controlled drugs, including Al John Turner, 53, of Hargham Heath, Attleborough.

The yacht was intercepted in the early hours of Sunday by two of the agency's fast-patrol cutters - HMC Valiant and HMC Searcher.

It was escorted into Newhaven Harbour, near Brighton, where it was searched and the massive illegal stash was discovered, equivalent to the weight of more than six classic Mini Coopers.

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Turner, alongside fellow accused Mark Nicholas Timothy, 59, of Sandown Close, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, and Johna Sijbolt Bouma, 64, of Amsterdam, Holland, appeared at Brighton Magistrates' Court yesterday.

None of them entered pleas and all were remanded in custody until August 1.

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The fourth man, Franciscus Hubertus De Geus, 66, of Amsterdam, Holland, was also remanded in custody until August 1 when he appeared at the court today.

David Smith, UK Border Agency regional deputy director, said its fleet of five cutters tour the country's 10,000 miles of coastline every day in an effort to detect prohibited goods and prevent tax fraud.

He added: 'The UK Border Agency's fleet of cutters play a vital role in securing the border. They are on constant alert around the coastline to keep illegal drugs and other banned substances out of the UK.

'We are determined to prevent this terrible trade which can have such a destructive impact on the lives of so many.'

Anyone with information about drug smuggling can call the UK Border Agency hotline anonymously on 0800 595 000.

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