The Ship’s Company of HMS Lancaster have been praised by police for helping detect three cannabis plantations in the Caribbean resulting in the seizure of 204 plants.
HMS Lancaster is currently deployed on patrol in the North Atlantic and Caribbean and was on a visit to the island of Anguilla when the drugs bust took place.
At the request of the Royal Anguilla Police Force (RAPF), Lancaster’s Lynx helicopter took to the air with two island detectives onboard to scour the island for cannabis plantations.
During their sortie three potential sites were identified, photographed and recorded.
As soon as the helicopter touched down, a team of policemen from the RAPF raided the locations and, despite making no arrests, seized 204 cannabis plants.
A spokesman for the RAPF said: “Members of the Royal Anguilla Police Force and a crew from HMS Lancaster carried out a Cannabis radication operation in various parts of Anguilla namely North Hill, Cedar Village and Sandy Hill.
“During this operation a total of 204 cannabis plants were seized.
“This operation comprised of resources from HMS Lancaster’s aviation crew and officers of the RAPF who were airborne and officers who made up several ground teams.
“I would like to thank the crew of HMS Lancaster for their assistance and look forward to working with them again.”
HMS Lancaster’s Lynx helicopter is piloted by Lt Chris Easterbrook.
He said: “The island is covered in dense foliage but between the aircrew and the RAPF officers, we were able to spot three sites which we suspected of being cannabis plantations.
“Two sites were fairly modest in size but one was the largest I have seen since we have been in the Caribbean.
“It was an absolute pleasure to work with the RAPF and incredibly satisfying to know that our cooperation furthered Anguilla’s efforts to eradicate cannabis.”
HMS Lancaster is visiting British Overseas Territories as part of her regional defence engagement activities while on a six-month deployment in the Caribbean and North Atlantic.
She will also provide reassurance and security to the islands at the start of the Caribbean hurricane season.
This week the Type 23 frigate visits Puerto Rico to pick up a law enforcement detachment from the US Coast Guard in order to fully begin counter narcotic operations.
HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, Cdr Steve Moorhouse, said: “The Royal Navy’s primary role in the Caribbean is the security of the overseas territories, be that through our presence in the region, our support following a natural disaster or in assisting regional law enforcement agencies.
“This particular operation in concert with the Royal Anguilla Police Force is just one example amongst many of the Royal Navy supporting the territories in their policing efforts.
“Counter drugs operations form a significant part of the Caribbean policing effort and I am delighted that Lancaster has been able to support Anguilla and demonstrate our commitment to protecting the interests of our overseas territories.”
The Royal Anguilla Police Force has now destroyed the cannabis plants.