RUINED: Hundreds of boxes of sardines had to be thrown out after a failed drugs bust

A FISH company has upheld legal action against Spain after a failed drugs bust saw it forced to chuck out 24 tonnes of sardines.

Police investigating hash smugglers forced Malaga-based firm Procomar Alimentos to empty its refrigerated truck after it left Morocco.

The business is claiming €18,500 in compensation, following officers’ failed search that left hundreds of boxes of seafood unusable.

Customs officers in the Port of Algeciras had lowered the temperature of the vehicle in order to search it, before finding nothing but fish.

A judge in Estepona mistakenly thought the firm had been smuggling hashish and gave police the powers to seize the cargo.

PORT OF ALGECIRAS: Customs officers did not find drugs in the frozen foods vehicle

However the Ministry of Justice has refused to pay for the spoilt fish, saying that it is the responsibility of the business, as it was seized under a police order.

A police report of the probe stated: “There is no element of interest in the boxes.”

The Costa del Sol company had bought its products from Moroccan firm Ifni Sea Food, before shipping them to Algeciras.

It had also contacted the Port of Algeciras before the shipment arrived on May 29 2014.

The Council of the Judiciary rejected the compensation claim on the grounds that police action had been made ‘proportionately’, in relation to large-scale drug smuggling.

It added that the seizure was part of an ‘essential investigation’ and it had suspected ‘driver involvement’ in drug smuggling.

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