Tyrone lorry driver charged after coke and heroin found in chocolate shipment

A lorry driver from Northern Ireland has been charged following the seizure of cocaine and heroin, which the National Crime Agency (NCA) estimates is worth £5.7 million.

Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 3:58 pm
Updated Wednesday, 18th August 2021, 4:01 pm
Some of the stash that was recovered

Irish national 64-year-old Robert Wilkin, originally understood to be from Co Tyrone but now living near Tilbury in Essex, was questioned by officers from the NCA after his lorry was stopped at the Coquelles Channel Tunnel terminal on August 12.

His Polish-registered truck was carrying a load of Belgian chocolates, for delivery in Maidstone, Kent.

Hidden in two pallets of the chocolates, Border Force officers discovered tape wrapped packages which turned out to be 63kg of heroin (9.9 stone) and 32kg of cocaine (five stone).

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The NCA said that once “cut” (meaning mixed with laxatives, detergent, and other bulking-up powders) the whole lot would have been worth more than £5.7 million at street level.

NCA officers today revealed they had charged Wilkin with attempting to import class A drugs, although he actually had appeared before Folkestone magistrates’ court on August 14, where he was bailed to appear before Canterbury Crown Court on September 13.

NCA Branch Commander Martin Grace said: “This was a significant seizure of class A drugs of the type we see being distributed by violent and exploitative street gangs and county lines networks.

“Working with our law enforcement partners like Border Force we are determined to do all we can to disrupt and dismantle the organised crime groups involved in bringing these drugs to the UK.”