Shipping container washed up at Seaton - Pictures

PUBLISHED: 11:08 25 February 2014 | UPDATED: 11:34 25 February 2014

Millions of cigarettes were washed up on Seaton beach on Sunday.

They were inside a huge shipping container that was one of several believed to have been lost overboard from a cargo ship in the Bay of Biscay last week, a number of which floated up The Channel.

Local coastguard teams were called to the scene along with police officers, council officials and the Sidmouth Lifeboat.

A team of 11 operational staff from East Devon District Council and two technical officers assisted with the incident. They later arranged for a contractor with a JCB to drag the container up the beach and away from the shoreline. The container had around 14 tonnes of a foreign brand of Lark cigarettes inside.

Police set up a cordon around it to protect its cargo – worth around £3million – from would-be treasure-seekers.

Early on Monday morning EDDC officers began working with the loss adjuster and were awaiting HM Revenue and Customs advice on what should be done with the cigarettes once they were removed from the beach.

Contractors were working on Seaton beach to cut up and remove the container.

The cargo will be taken to a secret location and it is expected that customs officials will arrange for the packages to be destroyed.

The incident brought back memories of an incident in January 2007, when the MSC Napoli was grounded off Sidmouth and containers from the ship were washed ashore at Branscombe.

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