The driver of a truck carrying sets for an opera to be staged in Dublin has been charged in Britain with attempting to smuggle cocaine after 11kg of the drug was discovered on board.
The cocaine, with a street value of almost €900,000, was found in a box in the back of one of a number of trucks which were stopped in Dover while en route from Germany.
38-year-old Gerald Anthony Devlin, with an address at 36 Ballyholland Park, Newry, was remanded in custody.
The truck was one of three carrying theatrical sets, effects and costumes to Dublin for a production of La Traviata in Opera Ireland's Winter Season. It has now been impounded.
The materials were due at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin for the start of rehearsals this week, and were being shipped from Theatre Aachen, one of Germany's state theatres, which is co-producing the performance with Opera Ireland.
The cocaine was found on board one of the trucks when it was searched by UK customs officers at Dover. The vehicles had driven through Belgium and the Netherlands before crossing the English Channel.
David Collopy, Opera Ireland's CEO, says he is concerned that the seizure will delay rehearsals. He wants police to allow the costumes and sets to be sent on to Ireland as soon as possible.