11 people arrested and drugs seized in Hart and Rushmoor as part of county lines crackdown
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Between Monday, 27 February and Sunday, 5 March, specialist officers in Hart and Rushmoor supported a national week of action to disrupt county lines networks and the supply of drugs across the district. The week ended with 11 arrests and the seizure of a large quantity of Class A drugs, namely heroin and crack cocaine totalling a street value of over £6000, Class B drugs (cannabis) with an approximate street value of £263,500 and over £9000 worth of stolen alcohol.
County Lines is a term used to describe organised criminal networks who move illegal drugs out of bigger cities into smaller towns and cities in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of ‘deal line’. 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.
As well as making arrests, officers carried out proactive patrols, stop checks and warrant, seizing a large quantity of Class A and B drugs worth over £269,500 and more than £6,500 in cash which has been seized under the proceeds of crime act. They also disrupted four deal lines that were operating in Hart and Rushmoor district.
As part of their ongoing work, officers have also been identifying and engaging with vulnerable children and adults, referring them to services that can offer them support where necessary, and have visited cuckooed addresses. The local teams continue to work alongside housing partners to ensure the residents of these addresses are receiving the monitoring and support that they need.
Five people have been safeguarded and schools have been visited to provide education as a result of this week of action.
The Hart and Rushmoor High Harm Team also conducted a joint operation in conjunction with Rushmoor Borough Council visiting and speaking with local taxi drivers to provide education and support with regards to methods and tactics used to commit this type of criminality.
Examples of the work Hart and Rushmoor’s High Harm team carried out during the week of intensification include:
On Monday, 27 February officers from Hart and Rushmoor’s High Harm Team uncovered a cannabis factory after carrying out a warrant at an address in Grosvenor Road, Aldershot. Inside the property officers located over 370 plants and 56 harvested plants. It is estimated that the plants are worth approximately £250,000. A 35-year-old man of no fixed abode has been arrested on suspicion of producing Class B drugs. He has been released on bail while enquiries continue.
On Wednesday, 1 March officers from the Hart and Rushmoor High Harm Teamstopped a Ford Transit van on Farnborough Road having seen it being driven in a suspicious manner. Following a search, Josh Regan, 30, from Goodwood Place, Farnborough was arrested and charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply Class B drugs (cannabis), driving without a licence and no insurance. He has been remanded to next appear at Winchester Crown Court on Wednesday, 5 April.
On Tuesday, 28 February, officers attended an address in Nightjar Close, Farnborough and carried out a search of the property. During the search officers located a large number of packages containing suspected Class A drugs and a quantity of cash. A 22-year-old man from London has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and criminal damage. He has been released on police bail with conditions while enquiries continue. A 21-year-old man of no fixed abode has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. He has been released on police bail with conditions while enquiries continue. A 38-year-old man from Farnborough has been arrested on being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs. He has been released under investigation while enquiries continue.
On Thursday, 2 March, officers stopped a Vauxhall Zafira on Elevetham Road after witnessing a suspected drugs deal taking place. Officers carried out a search of the car and the two occupants during which they located a quantity of crack cocaine, cash, weapons and a number of bottles of spirits. A 33-year-old man of no fixed abode has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs (heroin and crack cocaine), two offences of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs (heroin and cocaine) and failing / refusing to provide a sample in custody. A 45-year-old man from Fleet has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and shoplifting. Both men have been released on bail while enquiries continue.
On Thursday, 2 March, officers patrolling the Cody Road area of Farnborough witnessed a Ford EcoSport being driven in a suspicious manner. Officers followed the vehicle for a short distance before stopping it on Dene Road, at the junction of Hazel Avenue and Cranleigh Court. Officers carried out a search of the car and two occupants, during which they located a quantity of suspected Class A drugs, cannabis, two sets of scales, four mobile phones and cash. A 55-year-old woman from Farnborough has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and drug driving. A 35-year-old man, also from Farnborough, has been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and obstructing police. Both have been released on police bail while enquiries continue.
On Friday, 3 March, officers carried out an intelligence led proactive stop and search of an Audi A5 on the A325 Farnham. During a search of the vehicle and two occupants, officers located Class B drugs (cannabis), a knife, several number plates and cash. Officers then carried out searches at two addresses in Farnborough where they located Class A and further Class B drugs. A 22-year-old man from Farnborough has been arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A and B drugs, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, acquire/use/possess criminal property, allow a registration document to be fraudulently used and possess / control an article for use in fraud. A 25-year-old man also from Farnborough has been arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A and Class B drugs, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, possession of an offensive weapon in a private place and acquire/ use / possess criminal property.
Sergeant Helen Wentworth from Hart and Rushmoor’s High Harm team said “Disrupting county lines drug dealing and preventing the exploitation of children and vulnerable people in Hart and Rushmoor is a priority for us and this week of action has proven to be a great success.
“Weeks of action are carried out on top of the work we do all year round to identify those involved in drugs and county lines networks and it is only made possible by the reports we get from our residents, our partners and the community.
“County Lines is a term used to describe criminal groups who set up drug dealing operations in a place outside of their usual operating area. The groups move their drug dealing from big cities such as London and Liverpool to smaller towns in order to make more money. This can have a really big effect on communities who live there and brings with it serious criminal behaviour.
“Where there are drugs, there is almost always violence which is why tackling and disrupting the supply of drugs, especially through County Lines, is a vital part of our work to reduce violent crime and keep people safe.
“Often, drug dealers will take advantage of and exploit vulnerable housing tenants, taking over their home and using it as a base for their criminal operation. This is known as ‘cuckooing’. Not only do these gangs exploit vulnerable people, but they also target children and recruit them into their criminal network.
“Some of the signs of child exploitation can include spending more time in their room and online or on their phone, having two or more mobile phones, having train tickets to an area you weren’t aware of, having new clothes and items that you haven’t purchased.
“Please continue to tell us about any suspected drugs activity in your neighbourhood so we can safeguard children and vulnerable adults and bring offenders to justice.”