Lockdown raids lead to 100 arrests and £5 million of illegal drugs seized across Cambridgeshire
- Credit: Archant
Police used ‘lockdown Cambridgeshire’ to launch a major campaign against drug dealers that resulted in more than 100 arrests.
Since the coronavirus lockdown began on March 23, Cambridgeshire police say they have disturbed and disrupted the drugs business across the county.
Drugs, with an estimated street value of £5 million, have been seized and will be destroyed and illegal weapons and drug paraphernalia confiscated.
From sophisticated cannabis factories to organised County Lines activities, Cambs police deployed their officers to tackle multiple forms of drug crime.
In total, officers made 113 arrests in relation to the production or supply of drugs. The drugs seized included heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.
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Officers found wraps and bags of substances in suspect’s pockets, hidden in underwear and one even tried to disguise carrying drugs in his mouth.
Superintendent James Sutherland, strategic lead for drugs, said: “Organised crime and drug dealing has not stopped during lockdown and neither have we.”
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Mobile phones used for drug deals, paraphernalia, weapons and cash were also uncovered as officers carried out numerous warrants, proactive patrols and the dismantling of cannabis factories.
Just last week on May 21, officers from the East Cambs neighbourhood team executed a section 23 misuse of drugs warrant at a home in The Hamlet, Chettisham.
The team broke down the front door and seized weapons, around £14,000 in cash and other items in the raid. Investigations for money laundering are now ongoing.
Earlier in the lockdown, in April, reports emerged that neighbourhood officers discovered 108 cannabis plants growing when they carried out an emergency warrant at a location in County Road, March.
A fully grown plant can be worth around £1,000 - and they were all seized and destroyed.
Three people were charged on April 19 following one of Cambridgeshire Police’s more substantial finds - a cannabis factory with 2,777 cannabis plants in Welland, Peterborough.
Images released from the raid show rooms lined with silver sheets as well as lights and heat lamps covering the plants. Multiple electricity outlets have been set up and are being used to power the operation.
Young plants were being cultivated on shelves elsewhere in the factory.
If the plants were able to continue growing, it has been estimated the street value of this fine along would have been up to £2 million.
Officers lso found 141 cannabis plants worth more than £100,000 in Peterborough. Two men have since pleaded guilty to production of cannabis.
During the same weekend, officers went on to discover further four cannabis grows in Orton Malborne, Orton Goldhay, Hampton Hargate and Ravensthorpe, seizing more than 550 plants with a potential maximum street value of £462,000.
Meanwhile, in Cambridge, two men were charged in connection with county lines offences which included possession with intent to supply Class A drugs after Class A substances worth around £7,000 were seized.
Another suspected County Lines drug dealer hid £750 worth of individual wraps of crack cocaine and heroin in his mouth on May 11.
He was later charged with possession with intent to supply crack cocaine and also charged with kicking two officers at Parkside Police Station.
Meanwhile officers from the South Cambs neighbourhood team seized more than 580 cannabis plants worth around £287,000 in Hardwick.
This was another sophisticated set up with rooms filled with plants that were growing in optimal condition with the help of lights and heat lamps.
Two 26-year-old men have since appeared in court charged with the production of cannabis.
At Chettisham police found cannabis and £14,000 at a house in The Hamlet. Occupants are also being quizzed about money laundering.
In High Barns, Ely, no drugs were found during a raid but evidence of drug use discovered together with a knuckleduster.
Supt Sutherland said: “Our strengthened neighbourhood policing teams will continue to relentlessly pursue those involved in the illegal supply of drugs to prevent the harm that their activity does to our communities and our most vulnerable residents.”
He added: “At the same time it is vital that we continue to work with our partners to ensure that there is support for drug users to rebuild their lives and support for educators to teach young people about the risks of taking drugs.”