FOUR people were last night (Thursday, February 20) charged with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.

A 32-year-old woman from Shotley Bridge, County Durham, a 36-year-old man from nearby Stanley, a 27-year-old man from Birmingham and a 45-year-old man from Derby will appear at Peterlee Magistrates court in March.

The charges are as a result of a Durham Constabulary Sledgehammer operation - aimed at tackling organised crime across County Durham and Darlington.

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As part of Sledgehammer, police aim to arrest people who are suspected of being involved in a network of criminal activities, such as money laundering, drugs, fraud and importing counterfeit goods.

Detective Sergeant Graeme Chisholm said: “The charges are as a result of a long-running, ongoing police investigation involving colleagues from the National Crime Agency, Derbyshire Constabulary and West Midlands Police which aims to disrupt those suspected of being involved in drugs offences.”

He added: “Those who deal in drugs are often part of a wider criminal network, and by taking action against them we are sending out a clear message to others involved in criminality that we will continue to dismantle, disrupt and destroy these networks.

“This operation is very much ongoing and we will be continuing to pursue lines of enquiry aimed at arresting those suspected of this activity. ”