Three hundred kilos of cocaine have been seized in Portsmouth in England following a joint operation involving gardaí, the UK Border Force and the British National Crime Agency.

The drugs, estimated to be worth over €50m, were found last night hidden in a shipment of bananas, which originated in Colombia.

The National Crime Agency said the cocaine, discovered during a search of the Star Stratos cargo vessel, is of very high purity.

Gardaí believe that part of the consignment was destined for Ireland.

They say the seizure is a major disruption to elements of an Irish organised gang.

It is the second joint operation between the NCA and An Garda Síochána that has resulted in a huge cocaine seizure in less than three months.

In September, around a tonne of cocaine was seized by the Navy from the Makayabella yacht around 300 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland.