Dutch customs officers have seized three tonnes of cocaine worth an estimated €225m, which was hidden in vats of banana puree.

The drugs, hidden in a container shipped from Ecuador and destined for Basel, Switzerland were discovered in the port of Rotterdam during a routine check late Tuesday.

"This haul is one of the largest recovered" in the vast harbour, the public prosecutor's office said.

"The drugs were destroyed," it added in a statement.

The Netherlands has become a major conduit for drugs, particularly cocaine, into Europe, mainly through Rotterdam, Europe's largest port.

Dutch authorities said that they and international law authorities have intercepted 50 tonnes of cocaine destined for the Netherlands this year.

A Europol report in April warned the continent was being flooded by "unprecedented quantities of cocaine, generating multi-billion-euro profits" for criminal groups in Europe and South America.

According to Europol, the cocaine trade fuels gangs that use their enormous resources to infiltrate and undermine the EU's economy, public institutions and society.

In February, a joint operation by Belgian, Dutch and German police seized a record 23 tonnes of cocaine destined for the Netherlands during raids in Hamburg and Antwerp.