Police have seized a haul of Class A drugs with a street value of around £1 million.

Essex Police stopped a black Renault Master van on the A13 in Stanford-le-Hope on February 22 as part of a routine operation.

Inside the van, which was being driven by Charlie Lancaster, 38, of Woodcroft, Harlow, officers found nine 1kg blocks of cocaine and heroin.

Drug experts believe the blocks in their current state would be valued at at least £300,000. When sold on the street, experts said the drugs would be worth significantly more than £900,000.

Lancaster was arrested on suspicion of a number of offences and subsequently questioned on his knowledge of the drugs, where he had picked them up and where they were going.

He told police he had been paid £100 to transport the items and had no idea what they were. Essex Police says its officers did not believe this and put it to him that he knew what he was transporting, and he had been paid £1,000 to do so.

Lancaster was charged with possession with intent to supply cocaine, possession with intent to supply heroin and possession of criminal property.

He admitted the charges at Southend Crown Court on March 24 and was sentenced at the same court on May 10.

He was given a six-year prison sentence and the drugs and cash were seized and have been destroyed.

Detective Sergeant Leo Fordham said: “This was a sizeable seizure of drugs which were undoubtedly destined for the streets of Essex.

“We know all too well the harm that drugs cause, both to those who take them and those involved in the supply of them.

“People such as Lancaster and his associates do not see that; they see preying on vulnerable people as an opportunity to make money and further their own interests.”

He added: “Thankfully, we have been able to seize a significant amount of Class A drugs and they have been destroyed and Lancaster will spend an appropriate amount of time in jail for his part in the operation.”