POLICE have seized 20kg of illegal drugs estimated to be worth an estimated £200,000 in a operation to target organised crime.

The seizure was made in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street, Tuesday 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 36-year-old 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."