“Repeated incursions by Spanish patrols into the waters around Gibraltar are a clear violation of United Kingdom sovereignty”, British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire told the press on Monday.
Two suspected smugglers were arrested, one escaped.
Gibraltar has forcefully complained against Spanish police for chasing a drug trafficker in their waters without informing them, saying they are “astonished and appalled” by the Spaniards’ behaviour.
Drug smugglers and contraband criminals on fast speed inflatable boats often find refuge from Spanish police in “the Rock’s” territorial waters.
Spain disputes UK sovereignty over Gibraltar, which has been controlled by Britain since 1713.
The smugglers jettisoned bales of drugs before hitting a submerged reef and abandoning their beached vessel with Spain’s customs service in hot pursuit.
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But it called Sunday’s incursion “unlawful and unacceptable” and said it was unsafe when a Spanish helicopter flew over the Sandy Bay area without warning British authorities.
Gibraltar has been under the British crown for more than 300 years, but tensions with Spain resurface occasionally as the Spanish government continues to insist the territory should again come under its control.
The UK Government has said that it will never enter into an agreement with Spain on the sovereignty of the island without the consent of the people of Gibraltar.
Express.co.uk’s video shows Spanish police boats rushing into the UK waters, with Gibraltar ‘s famous coastline and port in sight.
On September 5, 2014, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy reminded United Kingdom authorities of the “opposing positions” that Spain and the United Kingdom hold about the status of Gibraltar.
Although police and customs in Gibraltar regularly cooperate with their Spanish counterparts, disagreements over jurisdiction mean there is no formal protocol in place.
He said: “It beggars belief that the SVA have acted in this way that, in effect, has allowed a criminal who should be behind bars to get away”.
The Foreign Office reacted with outrage after Spanish police boats encroached on British territorial waters without notifying the authorities. Mr Picardo said: “I am sure I am speaking for the whole of Gibraltar when I say that we consider this has been a serious and unnecessary failure on the part of the Spanish SVA which has had outrageous consequences in respect of the violation of our sovereignty”. There was a stand-off as Royal Navy vessels circled the ship.