Police have seized 20kg of illegal drugs estimated to be worth an estimated £200,000 in a proactive operation to target organised crime.
The seizure was made in Birtley yesterday afternoon after officers at Northumbria Police received intelligence about a suspicious vehicle travelling from Manchester.
It was suspected that the VW Caddy van was linked to organised crime and may have been transporting drugs.
At about 3.20pm on Tuesday, officers from the Force’s Motor Patrols Department used a box manoeuvre to bring the vehicle in question to a halt on the A194 in Birtley.
The driver was arrested and a search of the vehicle found ten 2kg bags of white powder which has since been confirmed as amphetamine.
It is believed the haul of Class B drugs could have an estimated street value in the region of £200,000.
Detective Inspector Martin Brooks, of Northumbria Police’s Northern CID, praised the traffic officers who brought the vehicle to a halt.
He said: “This is a huge seizure of suspected Class B drugs that would likely have a street value of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
“We believe it was being transported into our Force area and that it would have found its way onto the streets so this is a fantastic result.
“It was a real team effort with officers from our Motor Patrols Department responding to credible intelligence about organised crime.
“They have located the vehicle, bided their time and then performed a box manoeuvre to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.
“It was an excellent piece of police work that has resulted in significant seizures and the arrest of the driver of the vehicle.
“An investigation into drugs supply will continue under the banner of Operation Sentinel but this result should be reassuring for the public.
“We are committed to taking illegal substances off the streets and will do everything in our power to disrupt organised crime.”
Enquiries into the drugs in question will continue and the 36-year-old man arrested remains in police custody at this time.
Anyone who has information about drugs supply, or those involved in organised crime, can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
You can also report it online at the Northumbria Police website.