29 arrested in week of action against 'county lines' drug gangs

Officers from Suffolk police carry out a drug raid in Ipswich. Picture: KAREN WILLIE

Twenty nine people were arrested in Suffolk during a crackdown on County Lines drug dealing Picture: KAREN WILLIE - Credit: Archant

Nearly 30 people have been arrested by Suffolk police as part of a national week of action against "county lines" gangs and drug dealing. 

The force made arrests and carried out warrants, organised dedicated patrols and gathered intelligence across the county during the week of action.

The arrests included offences such as possession with intent to supply drugs, while officers also made 82 welfare and safeguarding visits to prevent "cuckooing" - where dealers take over the property of a vulnerable person and use it as base to sell drugs.

More than 350 wraps of a variety of drugs were recovered, along with about £12,700 in cash and 10 weapons.

Police also visited more than 60 schools to educate pupils on the dangers of drugs.

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In Ipswich, a 23-year-old man was arrested in Cemetery Road. 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.

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Elsewhere in Ipswich, three people were arrested for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.

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 man and a 17-year-old boy were both arrested and will answer bail on June 14, while a 33-year-old woman was released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Police arrested two men in Newmarket on May 21, when a vehicle was stopped and a search conducted.

A search of the vehicle recovered a tennis ball which 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.

In 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.

Temporary Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, County Policing Commander, has warned those planning

Temporary Chief Superintendent Marina Ericson, County Policing Commander, has warned those planning illegal raves and parties in Suffolk over the Bank Holdiay weekend could receive fines if caught. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

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.”

Tim Passmore

Tim Passmore signing the declaration. - Credit: Jason Noble

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. "This week of action has highlighted the good work being carried out by the Constabulary and I’d like to say well done to all involved.”

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 Suffolk police on 101. 

You can also contact Crimestoppers to report anonymously – online or by calling 0800 555 111.

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