Two people have been arrested and a haul of drugs and weapons seized in a police clampdown prompted by a 'targeted attack' that saw two pigs heads left at a North East pub.

A series of raids in Birtley, near Chester-le-Street, on Wednesday comes after pigs heads were left at the Coach and Horses on Durham Road in the town on August 12.

And the crackdown follows a separate incident in which a van was driven onto a roundabout on the route of the Great North Run on Sunday, September 10.The Northern Echo: The van was parked on the Great North Run course

Two arrested – and a haul of drugs and weapons seized – as an ongoing crackdown into organised crime in Gateshead continues.

On Wednesday (September 20), officers executed a series of early morning warrants at three addresses across the Birtley area in an "ongoing crackdown on organised crime".

The Northern Echo:

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: "Once inside the premises, searches were carried out and a slew of illicit weapons were seized, including several knives and crossbows.

Read more: Teenager arrested after pig heads left outside Birtley pub

"A haul of suspected illegal substances was also seized, including paraphernalia related to drug-dealing and organised criminality.

"The activity was carried out under Operation Sentinel – the Force’s continued clampdown on serious and organised crime and came in response to a spate of recent incidents, including pig heads being pinned to a pub and a van driven onto the Great North Run route.

The Northern Echo:

"A 51-year-old man believed to have been involved in both incidents was arrested on suspicion of public order offences and another man – aged 23 – believed to have been involved in the Coach and Horses disorder was later arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and public order offences."

Read more: Two pigs heads left at Coach and Horses pub in Birtley

The raids were co-ordinated by a specialist team, who have warned those involved in serious and organised crime will be brought to justice.

The Northern Echo:

The spokesperson added: “Organised crime can devastate communities and is often spearheaded by heartless individuals only looking to operate under their own selfish agendas.

“This week, as part of our ongoing proactive activity, we were able to arrest two suspects while we also seized evidence that will prove invaluable moving forward.

Read more: Van deliberately parked on Great North Run course roundabout

“This planned operation was a result of months of intelligence gathering as we work to build a clearer picture into organised criminality across the region.

“The investigation will continue to identify and target anyone involved with further activity planned in the coming months.

“It’s important we continue our work so these groups are dismantled and can no longer operate, and we will continue to do all we can to identify suspects and bring anyone found responsible to justice.”

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They added: “Community intelligence is vital to our policing approach, and we urge anyone with any information that could help us disrupt and dismantle this type of criminality to get in touch with us.

“We’d also implore people to report completely anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers, either by reporting on their website or calling 0800 555 111.

“We want to be clear that this activity will continue – and we make no apologies for our stance towards tackling this type of criminality.”

Anyone who has information about organised criminality can contact police on 101 or via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website.