A drug dealer travelling through Nottinghamshire was stopped in his tracks after police uncovered £1.7m worth of cocaine inside a specially modified vehicle.
Armed officers were deployed to the A1 at North Muskham after receiving information that a Vauxhall Combo van was travelling through to Durham and was believed to be carrying drugs.
The team spotted the vehicle and carried out a pre-emptive stop which involved four police cars orchestrating a boxing-in maneuver which forced the driver to stop safely at the roadside.
Officers hauled two men from the vehicle before there was any opportunity for them to escape so they could conduct a search of the van.
The van was completely emptied but, convinced there was something inside, the team kept on searching. Noticing that measurements on the van were slightly out of the alignment, the team discovered a void just behind the driver’s seat – which was clearly a specially adapted storage system. After taking a saw to the device, they uncovered bundles of one kilogram blocks which were wrapped in gaffer tape.
The full incident features on Channel 5’s Police Interceptors tonight as the programme relaunches following a break in the series.
Firearms constable Bruce Arnold, from Nottinghamshire Police, was one of the officers involved in the stop. He said: “It was clearly a huge amount of drugs which we later found out was one of the biggest seizures ever documented by Durham Police.
“We know that there are these type of modified vehicles out there and we’re trained to search for this type of system, but this one certainly took us by surprise. It was done very professionally purely to disguise that it was harbouring such a large amount of drugs.”
Following the incident on 11 September 2020, Jason Denton, 37, of Lyne Road, Spennymoor, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply a controlled drug on 8 March 2021 and was sentenced to four years, nine months in prison at Teeside Crown Court on 23 April.
PC Arnold said: “It’s well known that drug dealers use the road network to transport drugs up and down the country and we are actively working to put a stop to this activity. This incident highlights how effectively we work with other police forces and act on any intelligence we gain.
“It’s hugely gratifying to see our hard work pay off in incidents like this and see a huge amount of drugs taken out of the supply chain.
“I don’t think people always realise the full extent of drugs crime – usually these people are serious criminals who may be heavily involved in violence and exploiting the vulnerable to make huge financial gain.”
Detective Inspector Rob Pollard, of Durham Constabulary, said: “I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to PC Arnold and his colleagues in Nottinghamshire Police for a rapid response and thorough investigation at the scene. Without which this highly significant drugs seizure may not have been possible.
“Durham Constabulary has a long reach and we will work with our
colleagues in other forces and agencies to fight the harm brought to our
communities by illegal drugs.
“The team worked really hard to make sure these drugs were taken out of circulation so it was very satisfying to see justice served.
“The drugs Denton was caught with were destined for towns and villages in the North East as part of a sophisticated drug-dealing network.”
PC Arnold has a wealth of experience of serious incidents having been with the firearms team for 13 years.
The 47-year-old started his career with the force as a response officer at central police station in May 2001 and has always demonstrated a passion for the action having worked on various proactive teams in the city centre.
He added: “It is exciting to be involved in a stop like this, you never know what you’re going to come up against but working within operational support, we are intensively trained to deal with all eventualities, including tactics to bring vehicles to a safe conclusion.”
The action-packed Interceptors programme also features a police chase which resulted in a multi-car pile-up after a dangerous driver failed to stop for officers. And the knife crime team chasing a suspected drug dealer on foot after spotting him dash from a suspected dealers car.
Catch all of this and more tonight on channel 5 at 8pm.