Seven sailors have been kicked off a Royal Navy submarine after testing positive for cocaine. Crew members from HMS Talent, which is armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, were removed from the submarine after the class A drug was found in their system whilst on duty last week.
The sailors failed a compulsory drugs test the morning after they attended a drug-fuelled party, as the 5,300-ton submarine was preparing for a sensitive mission to track Russian submarine movements in the North Sea and the Arctic Circle.
Senior Navy officers ordered that the sailors be handed over to military police after doctors confirmed the results last week.
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the incident last night, describing the sailors’ actions as “incompatible” with military Service because it “reduces operational effectiveness.”
“This is a major embarrassment for top brass. It takes years to train submariners to perform highly skilled and highly sensitive roles at sea and the Navy has just lost seven guys due to one night of stupidity,” a Navy source told the Mail on Sunday.
HMS Talent had been due to sail from Devonport on Friday, but the 280ft-long boat was still at the Plymouth base on Saturday night.
Launched in 1988, the submarine is designed to attack surface ships and performs a surveillance role using cameras.
Its Tomahawk missiles allow submarines to accurately strike targets on land from a range of about 1,000 miles.
The HMS Talent hit the headlines four years ago after she required £500,000 of repairs after striking an iceberg while tracking Russian submarines.
The MoD last night also confirmed that six Army soldiers from the Yorkshire-based 6 Regiment, Royal Logistics Corps have been removed from the ranks after testing positive for cocaine.
Their fellow regiment troops now face extra training, increased inspections and anti-drug lectures as a punishment, in a crackdown being led by a senior female officer nicknamed the Army’s ‘Iron Lady’.
Lieutenant Colonel Leila Green is understood to have started the crackdown after her regiment came near the top of a ‘league of shame’ for the most drug users relative to numbers of soldiers in each regiment.
A source close to her regiment told the Mail on Sunday: “The boss Lt Col Green is on a mission to stop her soldiers using drugs and if that means taking up our free time with extra parades and anti-drug training, so be it. Given the state of morale in 6RLC, which is already rock bottom, it is a brave move on her part. She’s like the Iron Lady.”
The news comes after several other alleged incidents of soldiers taking cocaine, including four from the Duke of Sussex’s old regiment.
Just months before his wedding to the Duchess of Sussex, four troopers from the Household Cavalry were caught taking cocaine in a Windsor pub toilet.
“Cocaine and MDMA abuse among troops has been a problem for some time,” an Army source claimed at the time.
A spokesman for the MoD said: “We a zero tolerance drugs policy and will not tolerate misuse of drugs by service personnel in any form or at any time. Any personnel caught taking drugs will be discharged.”
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