Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Monday, 10 August 2009 12:07 UK

Hard drugs haul 'at record level'

Syringe and spoon
More than 43m of Class A drugs were seized last year

More than a tonne of Class A drugs were seized by the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency last year, the largest amount since it was formed.

The agency's eighth annual report revealed that nearly two tonnes of illegal drugs were recovered, more than half of which were Class A.

The Class A drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, had a street value of more than £43m.

Officers made 166 arrests, of which 50 involved serious organised crime.

The SCDEA said the figures included drugs seized abroad in joint operations with other law enforcement agencies.

Dep Ch Con Gordon Meldrum, SCDEA director general, said the agency, which was created in 2001, would focus on more overseas joint ventures in the future.

Organised crime

He said: "We know that the drug products of many a foreign field are destined for Scotland, and that's why we have been active in joint operations outside Scotland as well as within.

"Our record seizures of Class A drugs this year is in part due to our success in tackling drugs closer to their point of production and supply."

The report also revealed 250,000 pupils attended Choices for Life, an education programme run by the agency on the dangers of drugs.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill welcomed the figures.

He said: "This report shows that at a number of levels the agency is working to tackle the scourge of serious organised crime and turn our young people away from the drugs that these criminals peddle."

The Scottish Government announced an extra £4m and an increase in staffing by 25% to fight serious crime in Scotland earlier this year.

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