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Sailor in £3million drugs bust
9:00pm Monday 30th September 2013 in News
A SAILOR from Crewkerne has helped stage a dramatic drugs bust in the Caribbean.
Steve Diaper is serving on the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Naval Support ship Wave Knight, which was on an independent maritime security patrol when a suspicious craft was spotted and intercepted.
After a tense chase and ‘take-down’ of the vessel, which included the recovery of jettisoned drugs as it attempted to flee, 55 bales of marijuana were recovered – a haul of 1,276 kg with a street value of more than £3million.
Subsequent boarding operations, preservation of evidence and detention of seven crewmembers it is hoped will lead to a successful prosecution.
Normally operations such as this would only involve specified personnel but in this case a prize, or custody, crew was required to be placed on the seized fishing vessel.
Leading Hand Steve Diaper, a helicopter controller, helped take the boat in hand and assisted in safely delivering it to Jamaica.
Steve, 46, who attended Wadham School in Crewkerne and was a PCSO in Chard, said: “What an adrenalin rush!
One minute I was eating dinner planning the next day’s activities and the next I was at the top of the ship furiously taking as many close-up pictures as I could possibly get.
“Without these images, prosecution becomes very much harder to realise. The entire ship’s company are delighted with the result and it just goes to show that if you work and train hard, you will eventually get your just reward.”
Although the crew of Wave Knight were unable to recover all the jettisoned bales before they sank, the total was estimated at a tonne and three quarters with a street value of about £6.4million.
RFA Wave Knight, a 31,500-tonne Fleet Tanker, is deployed to the Caribbean in support of Atlantic Patrol Tasking North and HMS Lancaster as part of the UK’s yearround commitment to the region in support of the Overseas Territories, Disaster Relief and Counter Narcotic Operations.
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