24 arrests in county lines crackdown in Suffolk
22 May 2019, 09:31 | Updated: 22 May 2019, 09:32
Suffolk Police have revealed they made 24 arrests as part of a national week of action against county lines drugs gangs.
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, officers in Suffolk conducted arrests and warrants, organised dedicated patrols, and gathered intelligence across the county.
Additionally, the force conducted a wide number of welfare and safeguarding visits to a number of properties, including 10 across Ipswich. 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.
Among the highlights was a warrant conducted in Ipswich where two men were arrested on 15 May in Alderman Park in the town on suspicion with intent to supply after being searched under the misuse of drugs act. A quantity of class A drugs were located on one suspect, including 26 wraps of heroin and 24 wraps of cocaine.
Both men were taken to Martlesham Police Investigation Centre for questioning. An 18 year old male and 16 year old male was released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Elsewhere, at a premises on Montgomery Road in the town officers also recovered over 20 wraps of suspected class A drugs as well as a quantity of cannabis. A 36 year old woman was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs, an 18 year old male was also arrested for being concerned in the supply of drugs and a 16 year old male was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply. All three were released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Also in Ipswich, officers conducted a search of a premises in Woodbridge Road recovering a quantity of Class A drugs, two knives, a large amount of cash and mobile phones. Officers arrested one male and two females - all on suspicion of possession with intent to supply. A 47 year old man, a 21 year old woman and a 17 year old woman were all released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Elsewhere in Bury St Edmunds on Friday 17 May police searched a vehicle and recovered 186 wraps of suspected class A drugs, as well as a further quantity of uncut suspected class A drugs, a large quantity of cash and two mobile phones. An 18-year-old man was arrested and subsequently charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply class A drugs and possession of criminal property, namely a quantity of cash. Naseem Edwards, of Winchelsea Road in London, appeared before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Saturday 18 May where he was remanded in custody pending an appearance at Ipswich Crown Court on 14 June. A 49-year-old-man from London was also arrested at the scene on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of a controlled drug. He has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
County Policing Commander Chief Supt Tonya Antonis said: "We have conducted some very positive disruption in Suffolk over the past week but it is important people understand that although the past week saw more dedicated activity, we need to recognise that our work to address the issue of ‘county lines’ and drug supply is something we tackle all year round.
"While the scourge of county lines is a national problem we will continue to do all we can in identifying and bringing to justice those intent on committing drug related crime in our county and in doing so protecting the vulnerable and our communities."