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Eleven Million Cigarettes Have Washed Up On The Devon Coast

They're on the beach near Beer, North Devon.

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Police have told those after free cigarettes to keep their hands off.

A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall police said: "It was reported by a member of the public at 8.10am this morning and officers are on scene to make sure no one puts themselves at risk to recover anything."

If full, the 40ft shipping container could have had as many as 55,511 cartons of cigarettes.

The spokesman said: "The contents belong initially to the original owner of the container, and then to the official Receiver of Wrecks, so anyone taking anything that washes ashore, even one packet of cigarettes, is effectively committing theft and will be prosecuted."

Containers were lost from a Maersk cargo ship as it crossed the northern stretches of the Bay of Biscay on 14 February.

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said: "Most of the containers were empty and are believed to have sunk approximately 75 nautical miles south west of Lands End in French waters."