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Biggest ever sting - Mr Bigs among 746 crime lords busted as cops crack secret phone code.

Iconic Mr Bigs were among 746 crime lords snared after cops cracked a secret phone network in Britain's biggest ever sting.

Cops foiled an international crime web seizing £54million cash, 77 firearms and two tonnes of drugs after police cracked the network in what was described as like breaking the Enigma code.

The Wire-style sting - a two-month operation involving cops from almost every force in Britain - has now stopped 200 potential murders and kidnappings.

In one fell swoop, law enforcement punched holes in the UK organised crime network with the hundreds of arrests, plus seizing:

More than £54million in criminal cash
77 firearms, including an AK47 assault rifle, sub machine guns, handguns, four grenades, and over 1,800 rounds of ammunition
More than two tonnes of Class A and B drugs
Over 28 million Etizolam pills (street Valium) from an illicit laboratory
55 high-value cars, and 73 luxury watches.

Encrochat is a military-grade encrypted communication system used by 60,000 people worldwide including 10,000 in the UK that was purported to provide secure phones for celebrities.

But instead, the National Crime Agency (NCA) said the Dutch system's "sole use" was for criminals to trade guns and guns, plot murders and kidnappings and launder money.

And the kingpins led lavish lifestyles and lived in multi-million pound properties with access to top of the range vehicles, the Met said.

Police said they "appeared to be successful, respectable business people but were dangerous individuals".

And after four years of work by international crime investigators, police managed to crack into the system - exposing the intricate web of crime like the TV hit The Wire.

NCA director of investigations Nikki Holland said the breach - described by one official as like breaking the Enigma code - was like "having an inside person in every top organised crime group in the country".

It was then that authorities could swoop - nicking suspected British narco masterminds targeted for decades during Operation Venetic.

The company, which charged £1,500 for a device on a six-month contract, sent out a warning to users in early June to say that its servers had been hacked by a government entity.

Because the phones operated on a system in Holland, and not the UK, conversations and messages bugged by cops can be used as evidence against the villains.

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Iconic Mr Bigs among 746 crime lords busted in biggest ever crime sting after cops crack secret phone code

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