FOUR men have been arrested after opium worth more than £330,000 was found hidden among a consignment of shelves.

On Thursday morning, National Crime Agency officers and Northumbria Police executed five warrants in Newcastle and Wallsend.

Four men aged between 26 and 53 were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs and remain in custody.

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A cannabis farm was also discovered in Shield Street, Newcastle.

The investigation began with a seizure of around 34 kilos of opium made by Border Force officers at Heathrow Airport in March this year. The drugs had been sent from Iran and were hidden inside a consignment of wooden shelves addressed to a property in Wallsend.

NCA spokesman Brian Shaw said: “Drug trafficking fuels violence and exploitation and we are determined to protect the public from that.”