Millions of cigarettes washed up at Seaton

08:31 24 February 2014

The shipping container washed up on Seaton beach with millions of cigarettes inside. Photo by Roger Upright

The shipping container washed up on Seaton beach with millions of cigarettes inside. Photo by Roger Upright

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Police supervise as coastguard teams help remove the tobacco to a secure location

Coatguards standby on Seaton beach as  millions of cigarettes are removed from a washed up shipping container. Photo by Roger UprightCoatguards standby on Seaton beach as millions of cigarettes are removed from a washed up shipping container. Photo by Roger Upright

Millions of cigarettes were washed up on Seaton beach yesterday (Sunday).

They were inside a huge shipping container that was one of several believed to have been lost overboard from a cargo ship in the Bay of Biscay last week, a number of which floated up The Channel.

Local coastguard teams were called to the scene along with police officers, council officials and the Sidmouth Lifeboat.

A team of 11 operational staff from East Devon District Council and two technical officers assisted with the incident. They later arranged for a contractor with a JCB to drag the container up the beach and away from the shoreline

The container had around 14 tonnes of a foreign brand of Lark cigarettes inside.

Police set up a cordon around it to protect its cargo – worth around £3 million – from would-be treasure-seekers.

Early today (Monday) EDDC officers began working with the loss adjuster and were awaiting HM Revenue and Customs advice on what should be done with the cigarettes once they were removed from the beach.

Contractors are working on Seaton beach to cut up and remove the container.

The cargo will be taken to a secret location and it is expected that customs officials will arrange for the packages to be destroyed.

The incident brought back memories of an incident in January 2007, when the MSC Napoli was grounded off Sidmouth and containers from the ship were washed ashore at Branscombe.

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