Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 11:48 UK

'Historic' cocaine haul in France

Customs officers inspect the cocaine (27 May 2009)
The cocaine was found inside sealed plastic tubs beneath bags of soil

Two British men have been arrested in France after customs officers found a record 684kg (1,507lbs) of cocaine inside their lorry, officials say.

The haul, estimated to be worth 27m euros (£24m), was discovered during a routine check on the A9 motorway near the city of Montpellier on Wednesday.

The two men had driven from Spain and were heading to London via Calais.

On Friday, Budget Minister Eric Woerth called the biggest ever seizure of cocaine on mainland France "historic".

The regional customs directorate in Montpellier said its officers had become suspicious because the lorry was being driven erratically.

A scanner then revealed the presence of "abnormal merchandise" - drugs - which was found inside sealed plastic bags and tubs beneath bags of soil, it added. Coffee beans had also been placed inside the vehicle to confuse sniffer dogs.

Both of the arrested men deny all knowledge of the illegal cargo.

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