A shipping container holding 14 tonnes of cigarettes was discovered washed up at Seaton on the East Devon coast on Sunday 23 February. The 40ft-long freight container was found at Seaton, on the Lyme Bay coast, and is believed to have fallen overboard a Maersk cargo ship during a storm in the Bay of Biscay earlier in February. The container was one of 517 that fell off the cargo ship said to be sailing from Rotterdam to Sri Lanka.
Officials said that most of the containers have sunk, many of which were empty and probably sunk in French waters, but at least two have been seen floating towards the UK.
Officers cordoned off the beach near Beer, Devon, where the container, which may hold an estimated 11 million cigarettes, was floating in shallow water.