Suffolk Police take part in national crackdown on County Lines operations and drug dealing
Suffolk Police has taken part in a national week of action against the on-going threat of 'County Lines' operations and drug dealing.
Between May 17 and May 23, Suffolk Constabulary, along with other forces around the country, conducted arrests and warrants, organised dedicated patrols, and gathered intelligence across the county to ensure the force continues to make 'Suffolk a hostile environment for criminals' to operate in.
As part of the week of action officers made 29 arrests including offences for possession with intent to supply drugs.
The force also conducted 82 welfare and safeguarding visits to a number of properties.
These locations have historically been vulnerable to the problems of ‘cuckooing’ where drug dealers befriend or extort a vulnerable person and takes over their property to sell drugs from.
Over 350 wraps of a variety of drugs were recovered, around £12,700 in cash was also seized and 10 weapons seized.
Officers also conducted engagement visits to over 60 schools in Covid-safe environments to deliver presentations and facilitate discussions with pupils on educating them on the dangers of drugs and in some cases these were done remotely.
Arrests this week included
Ipswich: a 23 year old male was arrested on Cemetery Road and following a search he was found to be in possession of suspected cannabis, £635 in cash and a knife.
He was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and released under investigation.
Three people were arrested in connection with the supply of Class A drug.
A large amount of cash thought to be in the region of £3,00 to £5,000 was recovered, as well as three phones and a quantity of suspected class A drugs.
An 18 year old male, and a 17 year old male were both arrested and will answer bail on June 14, while a 33-year-old woman was released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Newmarket: Two men were arrested on May 21 when a vehicle was stopped and a search conducted.
A search of the vehicle recovered a tennis ball contained a number of suspected class A drugs.
A 41 year old man and a 26 year old man were both arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Lowestoft: four people were arrested on suspicion with intent to supply following the recovery of suspected cannabis and class A drugs, together with a significant amount of cash and several mobile phones.
A 51-year-old woman, a 44-year-old man, a 27-year-old man and a 26-year-old man were all arrested and subsequently released under investigation.
Chief Supt Marina Ericson said: "This week of action is another demonstration of how determined we are to root out the scourge of drugs from our communities.
This week saw more dedicated activity, but it is important to recognise that that our work to address the issue of ‘county lines’ and drug supply is something we tackle all year round.
“We have our three proactive Sentinel teams based across the county who tackle serious and organised criminal activity, much of which is linked to drug trafficking offences.
"Additionally, with our Serious Crime Disruption Teams, Operation Scorpion teams and locally based officers, we are determined to stay as proactive as possible and conducting regular intelligence led operations linked to illegal drug trafficking.”
“Enforcement by police alone will not be enough to solve drug crime and we cannot arrest our way out of the issue.
Drug crime has links to knife and other violent and gang related offences and is complex social problem requiring input and action by other partners. Only by this approach can the root causes and the long-term effects be addressed. “
"We want to help those vulnerable members of the community, who get caught-up in this kind of activity to support their habit and break the cycle.
It is about ensuring the next generation can grow up in a safe county without fear of violence or intimidation.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk, Tim Passmore said: "I applaud the continued focus of the Constabulary in stamping out serious and organised criminal activity in the county, this week of action shows this determination is paying dividends.
“I have been hugely impressed by the work of the relatively new Sentinel teams whose sole purpose is to focus on these most serious criminals and rid our county of these lawless individuals. Such people do enormous harm to our communities and catching them and prosecuting them is exactly what the public wants.
“My own role as commissioner of services to support victims plays an important part in making sure vulnerable victims of county lines crimes are appropriately cared for and I will do all I can to ensure this important work continues."
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs within the UK.
The gang establishes a drug market in a rural town, with origins to an urban city location with mobile phones frequently used to facilitate the drug deals.
They are likely to exploit children and vulnerable adults to move and store the drugs and money and they will often use coercion, intimidation, violence and weapons.
Last week’s activity was coordinated by the National County Lines Coordination Centre set up by the National Crime Agency and NPCC
If you suspect drug dealing is taking place or you are concerned that a young person or vulnerable adult may have been targeted by an organised crime group, call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.