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Four more charges secured as we continue organised crime crackdown

12 Oct 2021

Four more people have been arrested and charged as part of Operation Costello - our biggest ever crackdown on serious and organised crime.

Five warrants were carried out last week at properties in Luton and Milton Keynes, which resulted in three men from Luton and one man from Milton Keynes being charged with offences, including conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and encouraging/assisting an offender.

During a search of the properties, a number of communication devices and around £2,000 were seized.

Operation Costello is our response to the national Operation Venetic, which looks at criminality associated with specialist encrypted phones.

Cracking the encryption on these specialist devices has enabled us to shine a light on the networks suspected of being involved in the highest levels of serious and organised crime across the country.

Around £3.6 million of special grant funding has recently been awarded to Operation Costello by the government to tackle the extraordinary challenges posed locally by organised crime. This is in addition to the £2.1 million already pledged towards the running of the operation this year.

Since Operation Costello was launched just over a year ago, 110 warrants have been carried out, 55 people have been arrested and 34 people charged.

Detective Superintendent Nick Skipworth, who is leading Operation Costello, said: “This is one of the biggest and most important organised crime operations we have ever carried out as a force and the results we have achieved so far are testament to how we are tackling this and making Bedfordshire a hostile place for organised criminal networks to operate.

“We are currently recruiting a dedicated and specialist team which will focus solely on tackling gangs suspected of being involved in serious offending such as large-scale drugs importation and weapons trafficking.

"The extra funding is a real statement of intent of the force’s commitment and determination to root out and attack organised crime. However, we do need our communities to speak up and help us target those individuals, who, for too long, have enjoyed their illegal spoils at the cost of others' quality of life.”

Anyone with any information about drug dealing is asked to report it via our online reporting centre.

All of this information is fed into police intelligence systems and helps officers build up a picture of organised crime, even if they do not act on the information straight away.

Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously through their website.

If you have concerns about gangs, knife crime and child criminal exploitation you can contact the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit through their website.

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