Crackdown nets £80,000 drug haul
PUBLISHED: 07:26 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 24 May 2010
ORGANISED gangs of criminals selling hard drugs in Weston have been targeted in a series of police raids. Specialist officers forced their way into 31 properties across North Somerset, some specially fortified by dealers holding heroin, crack and other dr
ORGANISED gangs of criminals selling hard drugs in Weston have been targeted in a series of police raids.Specialist officers forced their way into 31 properties across North Somerset, some specially fortified by dealers holding heroin, crack and other drugs. There were also street arrests and covert checking of vehicles.They seized £86,000 of drugs over a four week period in the latest phase of Operation Relentless. Two men are in custody and over 10 more are on police bail.Police Superintendent Julian Moss said: "Ongoing analysis into the drugs market in the area has identified organised crime networks."We decided to do something about it, worked out some tactics and chose to target key individuals within those networks."Detective Inspector Alex Game added: "We've had heroin in the town for some time, but we are starting to see crack being used which has some unpleasant side effects and can become addictive quite quickly."People need to feed their habit and as a result you get robbery, burglary and theft from motor vehicles which are crimes that affect people's quality of life. When crack is around we want to stamp down on it very hard."Orchard Meadows has been a key area for dealers. Police raided three properties in Hopkins Street alone, finding £1,200 worth of heroin.Dogs were used to sniff out drugs in well-hidden stashes in properties, including in secret compartments, a freezer and zipped inside a child's toy.A specialist financial officer has also been involved in the operation and is working to confiscate things like electrical goods, vehicles and even properties bought through the proceeds of crime.Det Insp Game said: "In previous operations we have looked at street dealers. This time we took street dealers, but also the wholesalers and got better quality arrests."I think we have made a significant impact on local dealers and local networks bringing drugs into the area and for the first time we are making sure we are seizing their assets."We are making it really uncomfortable for them and taking the profit out of dealing.