Coastal dwellers urged to look out for drug boats

Coastal dwellers urged to look out for drug boats
Members of the Baltimore lifeboat going dangerously close inshore to recover the large haul of drugs that was found in the sea near Mizen Head, in Dunlough Bay, Co Cork in July 2007. /Picture: Richard Mills. 

PEOPLE on west Cork's coasts are being urged to be on looking for suspicious activities at sea, to help prevent drug smuggling.

A seminar of gardaí, Revenue Customs and the Navy took place in Kinsale yesterday afternoon to highlight risk indicators and outline previous incidents where Cork's coast was used by traffickers to bring in drugs, called Coastal Watch.

Among those were thwarted attempts to offload 1.5 tonnes of cocaine in Dunlough Bay in July 2007 and another seizure of 1.5 tonnes of the same drug off Castletownbere in 2008.

Up to 150 people attended the seminar.

Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan said: "The purpose of the seminar today was to focus the attention of the statutory and voluntary organizations along with farming groups, coastal communities, commercial and fishing industry and all those who use our seas for business and pleasure purposes on how they can assist the statutory agencies in "Keeping Drugs at Bay".

He continued: “With a multi-disciplinary approach by everybody who attended today's seminar, it will mean a formidable force in ensuring that our coastline is not used for drug importation, or if it is that there are many eyes that will report unusual activity along our coastline.” He said Coastal Watch has been in existence for 30 years, where local landowners and fishermen notify authorities of any suspicious activities off the coast.

Chief Supt Cadogan said: “However personnel in organisations change, landowners near coastline change and communities change with passage of time, therefore today was about re-energising Coastal Watch in Cork West Garda Division and ensuring that Coastal Watch is a success".

Members of the public are requested to report any unusual activity to any of the following numbers:

Customs Drugs Watch - Confidential Freephone number 1800 295 295 Bandon Garda Station 023-8852200  Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111  Emergency Number 112/999   Naval Operations Centre 021 – 4864707

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