DRUGS valued at £236,000 were seized and 21 arrests made in Avon and Somerset during a week-long crackdown on county lines and drugs crime.

Avon and Somerset Police and four other South West forces carried out numerous warrants and operations earlier this month.

The initiative in Avon and Somerset saw:

  • nine adults and children safeguarded.
  • £236,000 of drugs seized, comprising of cannabis to the value of £155,200, cocaine to the value of £76,800, heroin to the value of £4,000.
  • £44,000 in cash seized.
  • 21 arrests.

Neighbourhood policing teams also worked with schools and communities to raise awareness of exploitation and carried out welfare checks on vulnerable children and young adults.

Overall, more than 90 arrests were made, 62 vulnerable children and adults were safeguarded and several drug lines in the region were disrupted.

Detective Inspector Angela Burtonwood said: “We embarked on this operation with a clear intent to educate on, advise and stop dealers from using children and vulnerable people, whether in transporting drugs, holding cash, or running phone lines.

"We employed a range of tactics – from patrolling our transport hubs and roads to offering support from drugs agencies to those we believe are buying drugs – and ultimately stopped drug dealers quite literally in their tracks, seizing their vehicles and proceeds of crime.

“Those who have profited from drug criminality will be brought to justice.

"Meanwhile our work in educating children, parents, communities, and partners means greater awareness of how those dealers groom and prey on others and of the help that exists for those caught up in situations from which they want to escape.

“We use information from our communities, together with intelligence work from our teams, to help build a picture of where drug criminality is happening. From this, we can target those who are bringing drugs into our communities, exploiting our young people and taking over the lives of some of our most vulnerable residents, all for personal gain. We also work hard to protect those who are vulnerable to being targeted and drawn into this type of criminal activity.

“We urge the public to keep sharing information with us, as we are committed to carrying out this type of work not only in weeks of action, but every day of the year. Our dedicated County Lines team, working with colleagues from response, patrol, neighbourhoods, intelligence, operational support, and many other departments, have many more drug criminals in their sights. A single piece of information that someone might not be sure is important enough to share, could be the piece that helps us complete the picture and have the evidence to take more dealers off our streets.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford said: “Avon and Somerset Police officers and staff have been busy leading operational activity which has not only resulted in criminals and drugs being taken off our streets, but also vulnerable individuals being safeguarded and given support from relevant partners.

“I am proud of the partnership approach being taken by the five south west regional police services to raise awareness of the signs of county lines and disrupt many of the criminals involved who operate across boundaries.

“The independent charity CrimeStoppers play an important role in this work, highlighting signs and indicators of county lines drug dealing to increase public awareness and reporting, whilst offering reassurance that their anonymous reporting services is available to anyone with information on crime – a way of giving information without revealing their identity.

“Together we can ensure that the South West is No Place For Drugs.”

*Report any suspicions relating to drug crime to police on 101 - 999 in an emergency or when a crime is in progress - or via the Avon and Somerset Police website.

You can also report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org