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A corrupt port worker is behind bars after being caught with nearly £180,000 of cocaine.

Ben Whitby was jailed for almost seven years after he was pulled over by officers away from Killingholme Port in Lincolnshire where he worked as a tug boat skipper.

The 30-year-old was found with a black rucksack on the back seat of his BMW, which contained around 2.25 kilos of cocaine worth around £178,000.

Police images show one of the cocaine blocks had been branded with the distinctive ‘Alquimista’ logo, meaning alchemist in Spanish and Portuguese.

Humberside Police officers also found £3,000 cash in his glove box.

Whitby, a dad-of-two, had been under surveillance by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Before his arrest investigators had spotted him leaving home in New Waltham, Lincolnshire, with the black rucksack as he headed to work.

After he was arrested, officers searched his home and seized another £20,000 cash along with a number of expensive watches.

He was jailed for six years and nine months at Grimsby Crown Court for possessing drugs with intent to supply and money laundering.

Police believe Whitby, who they labelled a “corrupt insider,” may have been recruited by an organised crime group capitalising on his role at the port.

NCA branch commander Mark Spoors said: “Ben Whitby used his position to engage in criminality for his own personal gain.

“Organised crime groups rely on people like him to bring their illicit commodities into the UK, indeed we know they actively look to recruit workers at ports and airports because of the access they have.”

He added: “I would urge anyone working in a port or airport environment who has suspicions about criminal activity to report it, through the police, Crimestoppers or through their own employers.

“The NCA and our partners in the police, Border Force and private sector are determined to root out corruption and stop those who would seek to abuse their position in this way.

“As this case demonstrates, we have the capability to track and stop corrupt insiders, and will bring anyone involved in this type of criminality to justice.”

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Chief Superintendent Christine Wilson, at Humberside Police, added: “Following information supplied to us by the National Crime Agency, we were able to stop Ben Whitby in his tracks and disrupt the criminal activity he was involved with.”

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