ARMED police swooped on Denby Dale to arrest a man wanted over two gangland murders, it emerged last night.

Officers armed with automatic weapons surrounded a house in Wakefield Road to detain a 25-year-old man.

A link to illegal drugs is one line of inquiry being followed by the team of up to 60 police officers investigating the murders.

The bodies of Merseyside boxer Brett Flournoy and his friend David Griffiths were discovered in a van, buried on a farm in St Austell.

There had been an attempt to burn the vehicle before it was buried in a pit.

Last night detectives confirmed that the man is currently in police custody in Launceston. Police said the man was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Denby Dale residents spoke of their shock at witnessing the armed swoop.

Josie Thompson, 61, said: “I was out in my garden and saw the whole thing. It was terrifying to see armed police.

“There were a few cars which seemed to block the area and a man in the middle and a few others around but they seemed more like passers-by.

“They got him on the floor and quickly got hold of him and took him away. There was no messing about.”

Another neighbour, 54, added: “I’ve not idea who the man is but there’s been plenty of rumours.

“It is worrying but there were a few police officers about afterwards to speak to and get a bit of reassurance.

“But it was all over in a flash.”

Other residents told the Examiner the man’s name but more details are yet to emerge about him.

Victim Mr Flournoy, a former soldier and boxer, lived with his partner Kelly and their two young sons Reis and Callum in Wirral, Merseyside.

Mr Griffiths was a father-of-three originally from Plymouth but living in Bracknell, Berkshire.

The pair were last seen on Thursday June 16. They are known to have arrived in Cornwall at around 7.30pm for what police called a “social visit” and it is thought they were travelling in a white Citroen Berlingo van.

Mr Flournoy, 31, is known to have picked up Mr Griffiths, 35, in the van from the car park on the Plymouth side of the Tamar Bridge, which links Devon and Cornwall, at around 7pm on June 16.

Police earlier confirmed that a van unearthed in a field north of the Cornish town of St Austell last Friday contained the two bodies.

Detectives using cadaver dogs and specialist underground search equipment found the human remains and van full of soil on land at Trenance Downs.

Det Insp Costa Nassaris, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “We can now confirm that we’ve recovered two bodies from the vehicle that was buried on farmland near St Austell.

“The families have been updated on the progress of the investigation and our thoughts are with them at this terrible time,” he added.

A man has already been arrested and charged in relation to the investigation.

Ross Stone, 28, was charged on Saturday with disposing of a corpse to obstruct a coroner and will appear at Truro Crown Court on Friday.