Series exploring Britain's coastline. Neil Oliver visits Britain's largest container port.
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This stretch of coast has seen repeated waves of tribal settlers
that have helped forge our national identity.
Saxons, Jutes, Vikings, Danes.
They all came here, you know?
And they were so impressed, they all decided to stay.
But our ancestors never got round to colonising this headland.
Until recently, it was mostly a marsh.
But now it's Felixstowe.
The UK's largest container port.
I'm going to see what one of those is all about.
95% of the goods we consume on our island, arrive here by sea.
When you're shopping, it's odds on you're buying stuff
that came here by ship, in boxes like these.
In all, 40% of Britain's trade comes through THIS port.
Much of that trade once flowed through London,
but it moved here because Felixstowe can take bigger ships.
These containers come from every corner of the world.
There are about 6,000 of them on that ship alone
and on the biggest vessels, there are up to 10,000 containers.
Each crane must unload a box every minute, day and night.
Felixstowe handles nearly 2 million containers per year.
Some of the contents aren't always what they appear.
Stopping smugglers using any one of these incoming boxes is a herculean task.
How on earth do they do it?
Kevin Sayer's one of the few people with the power to open any box.
Our first container has come from Africa.
It's suspicious, but they won't say why.
Is that typical, that load there?
Because it looks so completely harmless.
Very often that's what the criminals and smugglers are trading on.
They want their consignment to look as legitimate as possible,
so it evades our controls.
It does seem a bit odd that it's only half-full.
-Do you want to come have a look at this?
-There's something inside?
-The X-ray shows a dark block within the image.
It's a black bin liner, Kevin.
It's coming out. It's coming out.
It sounds heavy.
It made a sort of a "thud" there.
-Maybe it's just the latest Wilbur Smith?
A bin liner within a bin liner.
Oh, that even looks suspicious to me.
This looks like cannabis resin.
That looks like cannabis. Look at that!
I can't believe it. You've set this up, haven't you?
You've done this for me.
I wish we could have arranged it so well.
Is the whole cargo now officially dodgy gear?
The whole cargo will will effectively be forfeit.
We use a historic phrase, "forfeit to the crown".
What's the Queen going to do with that?
Ah, well, we work on behalf of the Queen. It now becomes her property.
I'm gonna go away from this with a very skewed idea of your job.
-It's gonna look like this stuff's popping out of every case.
-It's so easy.
It turned out that our very first container actually had cocaine in it.
Street value - £80,000.
And that's just a drop in the ocean.
Last year, customs seized 4.9 tonnes of the stuff at out frontiers.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd