POLICE officers seized nearly £2 million worth of amphetamine and found the ingredients to manufacture a further £2.3m worth when they smashed a drugs operation in Yorkshire.

The fumes were so strong from the chemicals in the flat being used as a factory to process the drugs, that they had to wear face masks to breathe during their search.

More than 40 kilogrammes of amphetamine was found in the flat and a car outside, while base liquid sufficient to manufacture another 50 kilogrammes was recovered.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency was already watching the flat in the spring of last year but carried out the raid after arrests were made in the south following a heroin transaction arranged by two of those involved.

Paul Mitchell, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday that Daniel David Dobbs, 25, of Scarborough Road, York, and Paul David Cook, 46, of Burton Road, Hornsea, were both seen with Patrick Giles, 26, of Matson Road, Bridlington, on May 2 before he drove to a meeting with lorry driver Paul Rankin in a layby in Essex.

When Giles was arrested following a chase in his van, a bag containing 9.4kg of heroin, 42 per cent pure was found in the back. It had a wholesale value of £262,250, but a potential street value of £847,000.

Giles told an officer “I’ve been a right Muppet. I’m married with kids, I’m a roofer, but there’s just no work.”

Mr Mitchell told the court: “The case concerns a well-established, sophisticated drugs supply conspiracy operating at the top end of the supply chain.”

The factory in Bessacarr Court, Doncaster, was used to produce amphetamine sulphate paste from a base liquid by means of a chemical reaction. The paste was then mixed with a cutting agent before being packaged for sale.

Recorder Darren Preston said Dobbs had become involved to make money out of sheer greed, while Cook was desperate to try and keep a business going. Dobbs, who admitted conspiracy to supply amphetamine and was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to supply heroin, was jailed for 13 years six months.Cook, who pleaded guilty to both conspiracies, was jailed for eight years eight months.

Giles, who admitted possessing heroin with intent to supply, and Rankin, 48 of Cromwell Road, Ringsfield, Beccles, Suffolk, who admitted conspiracy to supply heroin were each jailed for five years.

Two other men will be sentenced at a later date.