Crackdown on drug dealing gangsters leads to dozens of arrests

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 January 2019

Drugs, knives, cash and firearms were seized. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Drugs, knives, cash and firearms were seized. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

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Drugs, firearms, knives and cash have been seized as a police operation cracked down on county lines gangs peddling misery in Weston-super-Mare and North Somerset.

Dozens of people have been arrested after Avon and Somerset Constabulary orchestrated a week of action which targeted city-based gangs which ‘cuckoo’ homes and deal drugs in county towns like Weston.

Cuckooing is where county lines narcotics gangs use violence and intimidation to exploit people and take over their home to make it a base for dealing drugs.

Warrants were executed at homes of drug-related activity, resulting in eight men being arrested on suspicion of crimes including drug possession and supply, weapons offences and violence.

Officers seized tablets, several bags of cannabis and bags of white and brown powder which are suspected to be Class A drugs.

Four knives, a pair of dummy firearms and an air rifle were also confiscated, in addition to £50,000 in cash and many mobile phones.

Across Avon and Somerset, 114 vulnerable adults were given welfare checks after 126 homes were inspected and two children were placed into safeguarding.

Three men and three women subsequently voluntarily attended a police station for interviews as part of the drive.

The week of action, which culminated in a total of 90 arrests, was part of a nationwide initiative led by the National Crime Agency, with hopes of helping drug users who are susceptible to exploitation.

Earlier this month, town centre Sergeant Lee Kerslake said police are making Weston a ‘hostile’ environment for drug dealers.

Detective Inspector Charlotte Tucker, of the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: “With 90 arrests and more than £50,000 seized across the South West in the past week alone, it’s clear there is targeted action being taken against lines operating in our region.

“Equally important is the work done to identify vulnerable young people and adults being exploited by drug gangs.

“But, we know every day more young people and vulnerable adults are being targeted by these gangs and the challenge of dismantling them is a very real one, not just for law enforcement, but for safeguarding, health and education professionals as well.”

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