Ten people have been arrested after around 2.3 tonnes of cocaine were imported to the UK hidden in a banana shipment.

The men, all aged between 21 and 56, were detained on February 18 at two addresses in North London.

The drugs are estimated to have been worth £184 million, arrived on a cargo ship with banana shipments from Colombia on February 13, and were removed by Border Force officers in Portsmouth on February 14.

It was to be delivered to an industrial estate in Tottenham, and a joint force of officers went to the site to arrest the five recipients.

Five other men were arrested at a different industrial estate in Enfield.

All ten remain in custody and three have since been charged with the importation of class A drugs.

Cocaine from one pallet (Photo: NCA)

Cocaine from one pallet (Photo: NCA)

John Coles, Head of Specialist Operations at the NCA, said: “The numbers here speak for themselves; this is a massive seizure which has denied organised criminals hundreds of millions in profits, and is the result of a targeted investigation conducted jointly by the NCA and Met Police.

“Illegal drugs are a corrosive threat and those who deal in cocaine are often violent and exploitative. Cocaine supply is directly linked to the use of firearms, knife crime and the exploitation of young and vulnerable people.”

Detective Superintendent Simon Moring from the Metropolitan Police Service called it the “UK’s biggest ever seizure of cocaine”.

He said: “We know there is an inextricable link between drugs and violence – that is why tackling the importation and supply of drugs is a crucial part of our work to reduce violent crime in London.”