Cannabis valued at £4.8m by border control officers has been seized at an Essex port after travelling from Cuba.
The 1.7 tonnes of drugs were seized at Tilbury having arrived via Jamaica and Rotterdam, the UK Border Agency said.
Smugglers had hidden the drugs inside a container carrying molasses. No arrests have been made.
The drugs were in 53 sacks on top of a tank of molasses in a container, said Geoff Hicks, the agency’s assistant director at the port.
“It is not unusual for smugglers to hijack perfectly innocent shipments in the hope that they will evade detection, but our border officers are alert to these criminals’ modus operandi,” he said.
“This is a major detection that has not only prevented a sizeable quantity of harmful drugs from hitting the UK’s streets, but also dealt a big financial blow to the smugglers.”
Equipment including X-ray scanners is used in a bid to find illegal goods hidden inside containers passing through Tilbury.