One of the most senior figures in the Kinahan organised crime gang has been arrested in England in a joint operation between the gardaí and the UK's National Crime Agency.

The 51-year-old man and his son who are both from Dublin were arrested this morning after they flew into Birmingham Airport.

The National Crime Agency said they are being detained as part of an investigation into the supply of drugs and firearms in Ireland and the UK.

The man whom gardaí believe is 'Number 2' in the Kinahan cartel was arrested on conspiracy to import and supply drugs, firearms and ammunition as well as money laundering offences.

His 20-year-old son was also arrested for money laundering offences.

Officers from the Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau which has been targeting the Kinahan gang are working closely with the National Crime Agency.

Gardaí are in the UK and were part of a search team that raided the gang leader's house today.

He has been living there since he left Ireland ten years ago after he was targeted by the Criminal Assets Bureau but has also been travelling between Spain and the Middle East where senior Kinahan gang members are now based.

He has convictions for assault, threats to kill, possession of firearms and assaults on gardaí.

Speaking earlier today Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said: "For the purpose of tackling organised crime groups An Garda Siochána has commenced the new year in the manner in which it intends to proceed in 2019, by engaging in the most impactful possible co-operation with law enforcement authorities, at an international level.

"In this regard the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) is one of our most important allies, with whom we share a common desire to put organised crime groups who operate within the common travel area out of business."