22 April 2024

Over 100kg of drugs seized in targetted raids

More than 100kg of cannabis was seized in a single haul by Wiltshire Police as part of an operation targeting organised crime groups (OCGs) involved in the drug’s cultivation.

Across the South West, 67 people were arrested – including 18 in Wiltshire – while £6.8 million of cannabis and weapons, including a 9mm pistol in Dorset, were seized as part of the region’s ongoing collective work to target and disrupt OCGs harming our communities through drug supply.

The region’s five police forces, supported by the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) and working with the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and independent charity Crimestoppers, also carried out 58 warrants and searches at commercial cannabis grows.

Within Wiltshire, nine warrants were conducted, 692 plants seized, 18 arrests made, five people charged and eight people released under investigation.

The South West’s results are part of a nationally coordinated operation, titled Op Mille, which ran through the month of June to execute 1000 warrants and unearth and disrupt OCGs by taking out a key source of their revenue while simultaneously apprehending many of those involved, safeguarding those being exploited, and increasing intelligence around how the networks operate.

Wiltshire Police DCI Angela Shipp, the Force lead for the latest phase of the drugs operation, said: “People need to understand that, as this operation shows, cannabis cultivation is not a harmless or low-level offence.

“We know that it is a key source of illicit income for organised crime groups often involved in other serious and organised crime, including class A drug importation and supply, exploitation of vulnerable people through modern slavery, and serious violence as they compete for territory.

“The cannabis grows are also often set up in ways that are significant fire risks, potentially causing serious harm to neighbouring people and properties.

“Information from our communities is vital for us to tackle illegal drug gangs and identify vulnerable and exploited people.

“If you have concerns over drugs or drug cultivation in your area, please report it online, via 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers.”

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns