Two men have been arrested after a package containing false IDs was intercepted by Border Force officers before they later found a County Durham cannabis farm.

Officers from the Home Office Criminal and Financial Investigation (CFI) team, the North East Regional Organised Crime Unit (NEROCU), and Durham Policed performed a search at an address on Front Street in Blackhall Colliery on Monday (November 27) finding a cannabis farm with more than 50 plants.

They carried out the search after information suggested the occupiers were the intended recipients of the parcel.

Two men, aged 23 and 29, were arrested in connection with the operation.

Sergeant Neil Lovat, from NEROCU’s Disruption Team, said: “This is exactly the type of partnership activity that will continue as part of Operation Sentinel, which is our region-wide response to tackling Serious and Organised Crime.

“Our officers will continue to act on intelligence received, taking a proactive approach to keep people safe and fight organised crime right across the North East.

“We will also continue to work with our partners to dismantle the criminal groups who try to profit from the sale and supply of illegal drugs.”

Two firearms were also seized from the property and made safe by specialist teams.

A search of the property also resulted in the discovery of a bypass of the electricity.

The 23-year-old has been remanded into custody having been charged with two counts of possession of a false document and is due to appear at Durham Crown Court on December 21.

The 29-year-old man was arrested and detained by Immigration Enforcement, pending his removal from the UK.

Chief Immigration Officer, Mick Wilson, from the Home Office Criminal and Financial Investigations team, said: “Today’s operation sends a clear message to those abusing our laws and borders: we will stop at nothing to bring immigration offenders to justice.

“We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to disrupt organised immigration networks and make sure those who break our laws face the consequences.”

If you have any information about suspected criminality, you can report it to your local police or you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by visiting their website or calling 0800 555 111.