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 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 14:52 GMT
Force nets biggest ever ecstasy haul
Ecstasy haul
More than 40,000 ecstasy tablets were recovered
Police in Durham have seized their biggest drugs haul after thousands of ecstasy tablets were found hidden in a car.

Officers found more than 40,000 tablets, with a street value of almost 500,000, hidden in the foot well of a car stopped on the A19 near Peterlee.

A 47-year-old man from the Sunderland area is being questioned by detectives.

A Durham Police spokesman said the seizure was a "major breakthrough" in reducing the supply of class A drugs in Durham.

Ecstasy
The tablets had a street value of about 500,000

Detective Inspector Sue Knaggs said: "This is the biggest haul of drugs ever recovered in the Durham force area.

"We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this operation and it reinforces our commitment to disrupt the supply of drugs in County Durham.

"As in many other parts of the country we have a growing drugs problem and seizures such as this send out a message to criminals that we will not tolerate their actions."

In December 2002 Sunderland South MP Chris Mullin, who is also chairman of the influential Home Affairs Select Committee, called for ecstasy to be downgraded to a class B drug.

He described the current law surrounding ecstasy as "an ass" and said ecstasy should not be classified alongside heroin and crack cocaine.

However, Home Secretary David Blunkett has said the downgrading of ecstasy from class A to class B is not on the government's agenda.

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  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Liz Corbin
"The tablets were found in the foot well of a car"


See also:

22 May 02 | Politics
22 May 02 | Politics
21 May 02 | E-F
21 May 02 | Education
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