Detectives have seized drugs worth more than £3 million in a series of targeted operations across central Scotland.

The activity took place over nine days in early December and led to 18 arrests.

Officers said five organised crime groups were targeted and the seized drugs included cocaine, heroin, crack cocaine, cannabis and counterfeit prescription tablets.

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At one location, drugs with a street value of more than £2.7 million were found along with a "mobile drug production laboratory" in a van.

The van had a hydraulic press, moulds and bulking agents inside.

Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry McLean, head of Police Scotland's organised crime and counter-terrorism unit, said: "These criminals only care about themselves and their profits and they have to be stopped.

"As a result of these operations, we are reducing the availability of hard drugs to the Scottish public, addressing an issue which is a blight on the country.

"Members of the public have told us the activities of serious and organised criminal groups are a key concern to them, and our officers, locally and nationally, are dedicated to eradicating the risk posed by the illegal actions of these gangs, which can decimate communities.

"We use a range of intelligence leads, many of which come directly from affected communities which have decided enough is enough and they aren't prepared to tolerate these criminal activities anymore."

Police say specialist teams observing drug trends and identifying new and emerging threats have seen an increase in crack cocaine and illegally produced counterfeit prescription medication.

He added: "One small piece of information about an address or a vehicle or a person can be what makes all the difference in an investigation which could result in the unravelling of one of these gangs."