A boat moored in Huntingdon and used to store vast amounts of cocaine is to be auctioned.

The owner of the boat, drug dealer Ben Cunningham, has been ordered to repay the money he had made illegally.

Cunningham, 49, formerly of Wyton Moorings, Banks End, was jailed for eight years in August 2023 for his role in a criminal network selling drugs across Cambridgeshire.

An investigation led by the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit (ERSOU) found that he had used the San Periel boat, which was moored on the River Great Ouse, to store blocks of high purity cocaine.

The Hunts Post: Cunningham used the boat to store blocks of high purity cocaine.Cunningham used the boat to store blocks of high purity cocaine. (Image: CAMBS POLICE)

Investigators searching the vessel after arresting Cunningham found cocaine with a potential street value of £470,000, along with more than £13,000 in cash and cannabis worth £7,000.

The Hunts Post: Cocaine with a potential street value of £470,000, £13,000 in cash and cannabis worth £7,000 were found on the boat.Cocaine with a potential street value of £470,000, £13,000 in cash and cannabis worth £7,000 were found on the boat. (Image: CAMBS POLICE)

Detectives established that Cunningham was a local link to an organised crime group (OCG) which moved and sold cocaine across the UK. Two other members of the network were also jailed for a combined 24 years.

Following Cunningham’s conviction, specialist financial investigators from ERSOU’s economic crime unit began enquiries to establish how much he had earned through the criminality, identifying he had made £249,456.98 through illegal means.

At a Cambridge Crown Court hearing on January 11, Cunningham was ordered to repay an initial £36,514.60 – the value of the money and assets he currently has available – or face additional time behind bars.

Enquiries will continue in the future, should he come into more money that could also be repaid.

Financial investigation manager Jemima Cholmondeley-Smith, from ERSOU, said: “After it was proven that Cunningham was involved in a criminal network buying and selling drugs on a commercial scale, it was important that we took steps to take back the money he’d made illicitly.

“Our specialist investigators then built a picture of the huge sums Cunningham was making, finding that he was living a lavish lifestyle, frequently dining out and staying in expensive hotels. He paid no regard to the damage being caused within our communities through the drugs he was profiting from."