Northern Ireland news

Boat used in £500m cocaine-smuggling operation to be auctioned in Belfast

The MV Hamal was stopped off the coast of Scotland in April 2015

A BOAT used to transport the largest drug haul ever found in UK waters is to be auctioned in Belfast next week.

The MV Hamal was stopped 100 miles east of Aberdeenshire in April 2015 carrying 3.2 tonnes of high purity cocaine worth more than £500 million.

Two men from Turkey, Mumin Sahin (47) and Emin Ozmen (50), were convicted in July of an international-drug smuggling operation.

The boat is now set to go under the hammer at Wilsons Auctions in Belfast on Wednesday.

It is one of more than 100 items to be sold at no reserve, including signed sports memorabilia from figures including Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, Pele, Liverpool FC, George Best and Tiger Woods.

Jewellery worth a total of £350,000, more than a dozen Rolex watches, Audi and BMW cars, a signed Nelson Mandela autobiography, 63 small black diamond dice and motorbikes will also be auctioned.

Aidan Larkin from Wilsons Auctions said it runs government auctions every month.

"The role we play in realising these important assets is vital to our clients and the process in being able to raise the money which ultimately goes straight back into the public purse," he said.

"To date we have been responsible for returning in excess of £80 million to government coffers. Items include government repossessed assets, proceeds of crime related assets as well as corporate liquidation stock, all of which are sold to the highest bidder with no reserve."

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