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Three arrested over helicopter drug smuggling attempt

Three people have been arrested in connection with an alleged plot to smuggle millions of pounds worth of cocaine and heroin into the UK by helicopter.

The arrests follow a joint operation involving the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service which saw MPS officers seize around 40 kilos of cocaine and 60 kilos of heroin from a car on the M26 in Kent yesterday.

A 38-year-old man from the North Kensington area of London was arrested. A short time later NCA officers moved in to arrest two Dutch nationals aged 26 and 27 at Redhill Aerodrome in Surrey.

The pair had flown in to Redhill in a helicopter from Belgium earlier in the day.

All three are now being questioned by investigators items seized during the operation are being examined. The helicopter has also been impounded.

Redhill helicopter Credit: National Crime Agency

"This international operation has successfully prevented a large quantity of class A drugs making it onto the streets of the UK. If cut and sold it is likely this haul would have had a potential street value in excess of £10 million.

“Working with partners like the MPS we are determined to do all we can to disrupt the organised crime networks involved in drug trafficking.”

– Gary Fennelly, head of NCA’s Gatwick border investigation team

Stunning success of long-haul flights

'Low cost flights to long-haul destinations would never work'. That was the claim when they recently started operating at Gatwick for the first time in 40 years.

But now we can reveal not only have half a million passengers used the new budget services - many more are on the way.

So why is it working, can it last and how much can you save?

Our Transport Correspondent Mike Pearse has this exclusive report

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New report: another runway would not mean more noise and emissions

A new report claims another runway would not mean more noise and emissions Credit: ITV Meridian

There was fury under the Heathrow and Gatwick flightpaths today after a new report said another runway would not mean more noise and emissions.

It's claimed new environmentally friendly planes, changes to the way they fly and more people travelling by train will lead to no worse effects for hundreds of thousands of people.

But campaigners against expansion say it's utter nonsense.

ITV Meridian spoke to John Stewart from the Against Airport Expansion group, and Peter Hind from the Independent Transport Commission.

Family under flightpath call fire service after ice hits roof

Ice, thought to have come from an aircraft, crashed down on a house in Twyford, Berkshire, as the residents were preparing breakfast. A hole about 18 inches square appeared in the roof, while tiles broke into small fragments and plaster cracked in a ceiling.

The hole in the roof at Twyford Credit: Richard Burt

On Sunday 17th January, my wife, elderly parents and I were preparing breakfast when we heard a loud bang upstairs. We discovered that a hole about 18ins square had been driven through the roof, breaking four roof tiles into small fragments and cracking the plaster of a bedroom ceiling. We were unable to open the trap door to the loft which we feared was weighed down by the contents of the loft or roof tiles.

We suspected that this had been caused by ice falling from an aircraft, presumably on its descent into Heathrow, as we are directly beneath one of the flight paths. This diagnosis was confirmed by investigation by the fire brigade As you can imagine, it caused considerable distress to my parents and, as my wife and I have just given up teaching posts in the Caribbean to become full time live-in carers, something of a climatic culture shock!

– Richard Burt

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BA creates 2,000 new jobs at Gatwick and Heathrow

Staff numbers at BA will top 20,000 Credit: ITV

British Airways will recruit a record 2,000 new workers at Heathrow and Gatwick this year as the airline takes delivery of new planes and flies to new destinations.

The company says it will employ 1,600 cabin crew and 350 pilots, and comes as record numbers fly out of the region's airports.

For the first time more than 40 million passengers flew out of Gatwick last year. At Heathrow it was 75 million.

It will bring staff numbers at BA to over 20,000 which is more than ever before in the history of the company.

The airline say the staff will be needed to help operate 13 new planes including Boeing 787s and Airbus A380s. They will train at a new facility at Heathrow.

The airline will fly to 13 new destinations.

Airports praised for not charging drop-off parking fees

Gatwick is one of the airports to be praised Credit: ITY

The South's two main airports - Gatwick and Heathrow - have been praised by industry experts for not charging drop-off parking fees. It comes as other major UK airports, such as Stansted, have been charging drivers £2.50 for a maximum of 10 minutes. Bob Atkinson from TravelSupermarket says he wants to see all airports adopt free five-minute parking.

Millions prepare for the great Christmas getaway

More than a million people will pass through Heathrow Credit: ITV

Today is expected to be the busiest day for the Christmas getaway with around 14 million drivers taking to the roads. The M25 and M4 could be the most congested, especially around 4pm.

At Heathrow 1.2 million passengers at Heathrow will be jetting off for the festive break. Gatwick will handle 900,000 passengers.

In Dover, 600,000 will travel by ferry over the next two days.

Eurostar say tens of thousands of passengers will head to Paris and Brussels.

It comes as millions of rail passengers are warned to expect some of the worst disruption ever over the festive period with 10 days of major works.

Chief Exec of Gatwick reacts to airport expansion delay

People living near Gatwick and Heathrow face another six months of uncertainty after the decision about new runways was delayed.

The Goverment say more work's needed on environmental safeguards . Gatwick say the delay puts them "right back in the game".

ITV Meridian spoke to Chief Executive Officer of Gatwick Airport, Stuart Wingate.

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