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In British waters off Gibraltar, hundreds of chases

Over 430 fast moving rigid-hulled inflatable boats transited British Gibraltar waters during the course of 2017, necessitating the intervention of Gibraltar’s law enforcement agencies in often high-speed and dangerous pursuits.

HM Customs said it had engaged in 254 pursuits involving 350 RHIBs last year, while the Royal Gibraltar Police said it had responded to 88 such incidents.

The data provided to the Chronicle lays bare the scale of drug trafficking across the Strait of Gibraltar and its impact in British waters, and comes against the backdrop of a spike in drug trafficking activity in southern Spain in recent weeks.

Earlier this month a fast boat was run aground on the shoreline close to Alcaidesa and set alight by its occupants, with another RHIB beached in the same area last week.

The day after that incident Spain’s Policia Nacional reportedly seized weapons and three tonnes of cannabis resin during a raid on a house in La Linea.

And in another incident, a man lost part of a leg after it got caught in the propeller of a RHIB on a beach in San Roque.

The spike in activity at sea coincides with the cannabis harvest in Morocco and, despite a law enforcement crackdown over recent months, there seems to be no let-up in the extent of drug trafficking activity in the region.


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