Two men who were caught carrying 79kgs of cocaine in the boot of a car have been jailed for a combined 21 years.

Haxhi Shehu, 35, and Fitim Prenci, 39, both of Newland Street, Witham, had admitted to conspiracy to supply class A drugs during a court hearing in September last year.

The pair were arrested and subsequently charged following an intelligence led operation in Witham on March 13 last year aimed at cracking down on the supply of class A drugs.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s serious and organised crime command seized 79 separate 1kg blocks of cocaine from the boot of a Ford Focus parked just off Collingwood Road.

Officers found the stash smuggled into four large holdalls.

A further kilo was also discovered in the glovebox of the Ford, along with a large quantity of cash.

A nearby property in Newland Street was then searched, where officers found another kilogram block of cocaine under a bed and other items, including a cash counting machine and mobile phones.

Detectives estimated that the 81kg of cocaine seized during the operation had a street value of approximately £8 million.

During sentencing at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, a judge ordered Shehu and Prenci to each serve ten years and six months behind bars for the offence.

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Det con Liam Hurley, of the Met’s serious and organised crime command, said: “These two men were clearly running a drugs operation on a commercial scale, given the size of this seizure.

"This was a fast-paced operation in which officers removed a very significant amount of cocaine from the drugs market in the South East.

“Drugs destroy lives and fuel further crime, violence and exploitation. I have no doubt that the public are safer with these two men now facing a significant custodial sentence.”