60 ft yacht boarded by armed police

Police in the Irish Republic are to question three men arrested after a luxury yacht packed with more than £400m-worth of cocaine was seized off the Irish coast.

Gale force winds and seven metre seas hampered the operation to tow the 60ft Dances With Waves yacht to Castletownbere. The three men- two Britons and one man originally from Dublin all aged between 42 and 52 – – were arrested after armed authorities stormed the 60ft cruiser in international waters 150 miles off south-west Cork in the Irish Republic.

It is believed the trio, who are being held at separate police stations in the county, had been at sea for more than a month.

Naval Service personnel are expected to begin studying charts and maps found on board Dances with Waves to try and establish the yacht’s exact route and her intended destination. Gardaí will also examine satellite and other communications equipment on board for any phone records that would indicate its movements.

Last year, a cocaine batch of the same size washed up on the Cork coast after an elaborate trafficking scam fell apart.The smuggling ring was foiled when a boat used by the gang broke down in a heavy swell, and overturned dumping 62 bales of high grade drugs into the sea.

The EU has branded the UK as the cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamine capital of Europe, publishing a report which shows it has recorded – for the fifth year running – the highest number of cocaine users in the EU.