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Heroin, weapons and cash seized in county-wide drugs gangs operation

21 Oct 2021

Huge quantities of class A drugs, weapons and cash have been seized across the county in an operation targeting the supply and distribution of drugs.

Nine people aged between 17 and 60 were arrested in Bedford and Luton during a week-long national crackdown on those involved in county lines - when urban drug dealers, move into suburban areas and use a dedicated mobile phone number or deal line to run their criminal operation.

At one house in Luton, more than five kilogrammes of heroin, with a street value of £500,000, was found and at a separate address investigators located more than £15,000 in cash.

Earlier in the week, during a warrant at a house in Bedford, officers seized a firearm – found in a washing machine – a sword, cash and class A drugs, and arrested a 60-year-old man.

Arrest offences during the operation included conspiracy to sell drugs, possession of weapons, possession with intent to supply drugs, and money laundering. Other items seized included crack cocaine, weapons such as zombie knives and axes, and other drug dealing paraphernalia.

The operation directly disrupted seven ‘lines’ operating in Bedfordshire. Following the crackdown, Bedfordshire Police’s Boson team, which is dedicated to tackling gun and gang activity, has continued with the work by targeting lines in Biggleswade, Gravenhurst, Sandy and Luton.

Police activity wasn’t just limited to enforcement activity, as the force is part of the county-wide Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) campaign and is continuously working alongside partners throughout the county to raise awareness around things like modern slavery, cuckooing, child sexual exploitation and county lines.

Detective Superintendent Nick Skipworth, Director of Intelligence, said: “This drive is part of wider work taking place through the year which targets those looking to bring in harmful substances to Bedfordshire.

“A key aspect of what we’re looking to do is to target those at the top of the tree in terms of the criminal organisations, as these are the individuals often exploiting young and vulnerable people to do their dirty work.

“Not only have we been able to disrupt the activity of a number of Organised Crime Groups (OCGs), crackdowns like this are also incredibly beneficial in terms of intelligence gathering around other criminals and groups operating in the area. Our work never stops, and our attention quickly turns to those who are still out there causing harm in our communities.

“It’s also vitally important that we work to divert young and vulnerable people away from being drawn into this criminal activity. There is a clear link between organised crime and much of the violence, exploitation and anti-social behaviour which blights our communities, and we’ll continue to work alongside our stakeholders and partners across Bedfordshire to protect the most vulnerable and bring criminals before the courts.”

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

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 via its website.

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

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