Irvine Sea Cadets crested the waves after sailing on a Border Force patrol boat making its first-ever visit to the area.

The Coastal Patrol Vessel, Active, took a break after an anti-drugs operation to call in at Irvine Harbour and meet the cadets.

Active is taking up permanent patrol off the west coast to hunt criminal gangs involved in drugs and people-smuggling.

Irvine Sea Cadets had earlier contacted the Home Office in London asking to visit a Border Force vessel in the area.

The cadets were delighted to be contacted directly by Active’s commander, Andy Vidamour, inviting them out for a spin round Irvine Bay during the landmark visit last week.

The vessel, which has a four-man crew, drew a crowd of curious onlookers as she entered harbour and moored alongside for the cadets to get on board.

Mr Vidamour gave a briefing about the role of Border Force and its fleet of vessels which patrol the entire UK coastline, backed by law enforcement agencies and armed Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel.

Then after heading out to sea, each youngster had a stint atthe controls of Active, whose twin engines give her a top speed of 34 knots.

After passing back under the ‘Sliding Bridge’ and returning to the jetty, cadets and crew posed for selfies before the vessel was opened for visitors from the nearby Scottish Maritime Museum.

Sub-Lieutenant (SCC) Martyn Clark, commanding officer of Irvine Sea Cadets, said: “The cadets were really buzzing after such a fantastic experience at sea on Coastal Patrol Vessel Active.

“I would like to thank Andy Vidamour, his crew and Border Force for taking time out and making us their first port of call when they visited Irvine.”

Irvine Sea Cadets and Royal Marines Cadets meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7pm to 9.30pm.

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