Cocaine 'worth £12m' seized by police

Drugs seized by police The drugs were seized in a van in Chelmsford on Saturday

Eight people have been arrested after police seized 80kg of cocaine with an estimated street value of £12m.

The haul is the biggest uncovered by the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit since it was set up in 2008.

The drugs were found in a van which was stopped in Chelmsford, Essex, on Saturday afternoon.

Two men from Urmston, Greater Manchester, were arrested at the scene and intelligence led to raids being carried out across the North West.

Five men and a woman were later arrested on the same charge as the men from Urmston - suspicion of the importation of class A controlled drugs.

All remain in police custody for questioning.

'Top echelon'

The North West Regional Crime Unit (also known as Titan) was supported in the investigation by the South East Regional Crime Unit, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and Border Policing Command.

Head of Operations for Titan, Det Supt Jason Hudson, said: "This continues our ongoing efforts to tackle the top echelon of organised criminals in the North West."

Police forces in Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire helped the unit with the raids.

A 44-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman from Grappenhall, Warrington, were arrested in Kirkham, Lancashire, and Runcorn, Cheshire respectively.

A 52-year-old man was arrested in Partington, Greater Manchester; A 30-year-old man was arrested in Aintree, Merseyside; A 36-year-old man was arrested in Halewood, Merseyside and a 46-year-old man was arrested in Urmston, Greater Manchester.

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