COCAINE with an estimated street value of £1.3m has been seized at a Hampshire port.

The class A drugs found by Border Force officers at Portsmouth International Port after they searched a vessel carrying containers from Ecuador, Panama and Colombia.

A total of 20 red packages containing cocaine weighing 22kg were hidden behind a panel.

The drugs were discovered last Friday in a joint operation carried out by Border Force and the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Border Force Assistant Director Ben Youlden said: “This was a sophisticated concealment of a large amount of illegal drugs.

"In making the seizure we have kept the drugs off the streets where they can do so much damage and out of the hands of those who seek to profit from the trade.

“My officers do excellent work at ports across the UK to secure our borders and work closely with other law enforcement agencies, like the NCA, to prevent drug trafficking.”

The seizure has been referred to the NCA for further investigation.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

A spokesman said: "They use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners - as well as visual searches - to find stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities."

Anyone with information about activity which may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit