Published: March 9, 2012
30 arrests and £137,000 of drugs seized by police in Burnham area

Officers across the Somerset West police area, which includes Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge, arrested over 30 people during its Operation Relentless clampdown on crime on Wednesday (March 7th).

Officers from across the district executed ten misuse of drugs act warrants and eight Section 18 searches at properties in and around Burnham, Highbridge and Pawlett as part of the biggest Operation Relentless in its seven year history.

During Wednesday's activities, officers focussed on a drugs supply chain following a four-month investigation started in October of last year where, following two arrests made in the Bridgwater area, police identified approximately 30 individuals thought to be supplying drugs and involved in other acquisitive crimes such as theft from motor vehicles and burglary.

Wednesday's activities saw the arrest of people for offences ranging from possession with intent to supply drugs, theft, money laundering, burglary and cultivation of a class B drug.

During the warrants, officers uncovered two cannabis factories - one in Highbridge, as we reported here - and seized a combined total of 137 cannabis plants worth approximately £137,000 pounds.

They also found drugs believed to be heroin, amphetamine sulphate, crack cocaine, cocaine, dried cannabis flowering heads and a large quantity of what is suspected to be illegally possessed methadone.

Several of those arrested also had assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act including a BMW motor car, a motorbike (pictured right in Highbridge), watches and televisions. Cash, totalling approximately £5,000, was also seized during the search warrants.

A large amount of suspected stolen property was also recovered from several of the addresses visited including power tools, a mountain bike, mobile phones, credit cards and suspected stolen driving licences.

Sgt Paul Endicott, who ran the operation, said: "The day was a great success. We are really pleased with the results from the warrants and other activities that have been carried out as we have taken a large quantity of drugs off the streets and out of our communities. We have also recovered a large amount of property we suspect to be stolen and our aim now is to get that back to the rightful owners.

"In Somerset West we have been targeting specific offenders identified through a long running operation, who through their involvement in drug crime, are damaging our communities and committing further offences such as burglary and theft. None of which will be tolerated.

"Following the investigation, the arrests we have made and further intelligence we have now gathered, we have a lot of work to do in following up this action with an ongoing investigation.

"We also plan to look at applying for several Crack House Closure Orders in relation to some of the properties we have targeted with the aim of dealing with the ongoing negative impact that drug crime has on the immediate neighbourhood and wider community."

Chief Inspector Peter Saban said: "I think it is very beneficial to hold these dedicated days of action. They are highly successful providing an immediate and visible impact for our communities."

"They give us an opportunity to target specific issues, bring the force together in one large operation and send a strong message to our communities - we care about everyone's safety, we will not tolerate those who are committing crime and will remain relentless in tracking down offenders and bringing them before the courts.

"We also hope they encourage people to come forward and let us know about crime taking place in their area. We will listen, we will take action as this week's activities prove. You can do this through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or contact us directly on the new 101 number. Alternatively, you can log on to our website, come in to a police station or just stop us on the street."

Since its launch in 2005, Operation Relentless has seen over 35 operations, resulting in the arrest of more than 2,100 suspects force-wide.

Pictured: Police at the scene of the Highbridge and Pawlett raids on Wednesday


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