Seven people arrested and thousands of pounds worth of class A drugs seized in series of warrants in Swindon

Alert message sent 20/01/2020 16:25:00

Information sent on behalf of Wiltshire Police

Seven people have been arrested today (20/01) and more than £20,000 worth of class A drugs have been seized as officers carried out a series of raids around Swindon.

More than 60 officers from departments across the Force have been involved in the warrants as part of Operation Samphire - a week of action cracking down on county lines drugs gangs.

Ten separate warrants were carried out today which have so far led to the arrest of: 

A 21-year-old man from Swindon on suspicion of being concerned in the offer to supply class A drugs.
A 34-year-old woman from Swindon on suspicion of being concerned in the offer to supply class A drugs.
A 23-year-old man from Swindon on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
A 37-year-old woman from Swindon on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. 
A 22-year-old man from London on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. 
A 23-year-old man from Swindon on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. 
A 20-year-old man from Swindon on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs

All remain in custody in Gablecross police station for further questioning. 

Specialist firearms officers assisted at a number of the warrants to provide specialist method of entry equipment and skills. 

County lines refers to the drug dealing methodology which involves criminal networks often from larger cities expanding their activities into smaller towns and rural areas.

Dealers typically use a single phone line to facilitate the supply of class A drugs – frequently heroin and crack cocaine - to customers who are often vulnerable drug users within our communities. The line becomes a valuable brand and is protected with violence and intimidation.

Detective Inspector Paul Franklin said: "Today was the first day of a week of action to tackle county lines networks in Swindon. Of course, we tackle this type of crime on a daily basis, but this week will involve a large number of warrants which have required a significant amount of planning involving officers from all across the organisation providing specialist skills. 

“The gangs who exploit children and vulnerable adults as part of these drug networks don't care about the human cost of their dealing – they have no regard for those who are often forced to carry out their dirty work to push drugs and they also don’t care about the huge impact of their actions on the wider community. 

“County lines will often bring an increase in violence, anti-social behaviour and other drug related offences to neighbourhoods, which impacts extremely negatively on the innocent law abiding people who live nearby. This is completely unacceptable and I hope news of these warrants will provide our communities with reassurance that our county is not a soft touch and criminal gangs are not welcome here. 

“Our last week of action to tackle county lines was a huge success with over 60 people arrested during the week – I am confident that this week will be a continuation of this good work and we will continue to update the community as the week progresses.”

Today’s warrants fall under a new multi-agency approach to tackling organised crime in Wiltshire called Project Optimise.

Det Supt Steve Kirby, who is leading Project Optimise, said: “Project Optimise refers to our collaborative response to the threat of Serious and Organised Crime in Wiltshire and Swindon. This incorporates many areas of the demand we see on a daily basis, and this includes county lines, so today’s warrants and the week of action to follow make today the perfect time to launch this new project. While the public are not likely to see a difference in the way we police Serious and Organised Crime, within the Force we will be working much more closely with partners, other agencies and charities, to combat the Organised Crime Groups which are active in our county. We recognise that we cannot do it alone, and it is crucial that we utilise the resources of all partners in a more collaborative response.”

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Swindon and Wiltshire, added: “County lines is an appalling crime and often involves serious violence.

“The success of Op Jetway last year was testament to the dedication of our officers and staff in dismantling county lines and Op Samphire, which launched today, will no doubt continue this good work in ensuring those who choose to be involved in the supply of class A drugs are put before the courts for their actions.

“I joined officers on a number of the warrants this morning and was extremely impressed with the sheer amount of organisation and dedication shown in tackling this crime type.

“I’d continue to urge members of the public to help us stamp out these gangs by using your eyes and ears and reporting any concerns to 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

Message sent by
Katie Bond (Police, Media Officer, Wiltshire)

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