YORKSHIRE troops have uncovered the biggest-ever find of illegal weapons in Iraq.
The soldiers from 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment, found a huge cache - including more than 400 mortar bombs - during a daring early morning raid south of Basra city.
And a Huddersfield soldier was one of the officers involved.
Capt Jamie Metcalfe, 26, was part of the group which found the arms and made arrests.
He said: "It will certainly have put the insurgents operating in the area round Az Zubayr town on the back foot."
The units struck early on Saturday, acting on intelligence gained from a local source.
They rapidly planned an arrest and search operation for the heart of Az Zubayr, which is 10 miles south of Basra.
B Company, 1 Yorks Battle Group, tracked down insurgents who were believed to be involved in attacks on British bases that have included the use of rockets and mortars.
A group of men were seen hand- ling what seemed to be mortar equipment on the outskirts of the town.
They were followed to their homes, which is when the raid was launched.
Maj Dan Bradbury led his company of Yorkshire soldiers, along with troops from the Royal Artillery, The Light Infantry, the Military Police and Royal Engineers, into the centre of the town.
Trained dogs were also used.
The soldiers set up a cordon around a building and then used force to enter it.
They quickly found the men they were after.
The house was searched and an array of evidence was collected, including illegal weapons and ammunition.
The soldiers continued to search the building and in a walled compound found what has been described as the largest haul of explosives ever to be found in Iraq.
The find included a large number of rockets of varying sizes, bags of explosives, fuses and over 400 mortar bombs.
Also there were a number of items linked to insurgent activity and the narcotics trade.
The three captured suspects were handed over to the Iraqi authorities for processing through the Iraqi criminal justice system.
B Company is responsible for the area around Az Zubayr, which has a population of over 400,000.
The troops used three armoured Snatch Land Rovers and were armed with SA80A2 assault rifles, light machine-guns, 40mm grenade launchers and baton guns that fire rubber bullets.
Maj Bradbury said: "This was an exceptionally successful operation.
"It was instigated from local intelligence who phoned us and the local police to say they had seen people moving mortar equipment around."
"The operation was very fast- moving. We normally have considerable time to cue up such a strike. But in this case we had to seize the opportunity that presented itself.
"I got the company out of bed and put them together with the additional troops we would require.
"Within four hours of receiving the first phone call we were going through the door of the first building that had been identified."
Capt Metcalfe said: "This was an intelligence-led operation aimed at undermining the ability of militant groups who try to attack multi-national forces.
"It is the largest haul of illegal weapons ever to be found in Iraq.
"It was particularly impressive how quickly the group responded to the intelligence. The strike was quick and efficient. We know there are militants operating in this area and will take the fight to them at any and every opportunity.
"The fact we found such a large amount of ammunition that could be used for either mortar attacks or for producing explosive devices means we have put the militants on the back foot.
"We have gathered some very useful intelligence on the ground that could lead to us carrying out further operations.
"This sends out the message that we are watching them and if they try to launch attacks on us we have the means and capability to bring them to justice."
Capt Metcalfe has lived in Huddersfield almost all of his life.
He went to Shelley High School and his parents still live in the area.
He studied law at Exeter University and legal practice at Oxford before joining the Army in 2003.