• £130,000 worth drugs have been seized in a series of covert operations across Gloucestershire.
  • A number of organised crime groups have been disrupted and 19 people arrested following a series of raids code-named ‘Scorpion.’
  • It is the first time that all five Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in the region, and their forces, have come together to launch a co-ordinated attack on illegal drug activities and so-called county lines gangs
  • Gloucestershire’s PCC Chris Nelson said, “In addition to tackling high level organised drug dealers, this operation is specifically targeting all those known and low-level drug dealers embedded within our communities. Taking these dangerous criminals off the streets should reassure our law-abiding citizens that we are listening and taking action to deter drug dealing wherever we find it.  Gloucestershire is no place for drugs”.

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) says a series of joint raids in which more than £130K worth of drugs were seized and 19 people arrested, confirms that the Constabulary is determined to tackle all drugs-related crime.

A covert operation, code-named ‘Scorpion’ involved five police services and was carried-out over a week ago, but had to remain secret while a national initiative targeting other organised crime groups was also underway.

It was the first time the South West’s five PCCs and their Chief Constables had worked together on one combined operation with one objective.

Today the results can be revealed.

  • 19 people arrested
  • 11 warrants executed
  • 2 drug lines disrupted
  • £130,000 of drugs seized, including 15grams cocaine (£1,500), 197 grams crack (£19,270), 1kg heroin (£100,000), £10k cannabis and ketamine.
  • 20 vulnerability checks completed.

PCC Chris Nelson said, “This is a big plus for the way in which all five police services in the region have been able to come together for the first time and launch a co-ordinated attack on drugs-related crime.

“Taking those people off the streets makes a real difference and should reassure the many law-abiding people in our communities who want to see drug dealers removed from where they live.

“It will also help to reduce crimes that feed off drugs and are fuelled by drug dealing. Dealers who prey on users, who often commit offences just to feed their habit.

“While big-city based organised crime groups, who deal in cross county lines operations, might be regarded as more serious, we want to send a strong message to local drug dealers that we are coming for you too. We also want to reassure our communities that we listen to what you tell us, and shout from the rooftops that drug dealing at any level is unacceptable and anti-social.”

The five regional police services – Gloucestershire, Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire, and Dorset – alongside their respective Offices of Police and Crime Commissioners, the British Transport Police, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit, and the charity Crimestoppers, set aside regional boundaries, just as criminals engaging in drugs activity do.

The police harnessed their collective power to disrupt the South West drugs market, dismantling drugs supply networks and arresting those who profit from them.

The ground-breaking initiative ran alongside other nationwide activity against so-called county lines organised crime groups, who deal drugs through complex networks across county borders.

In Operation Scorpion, police officers used a range of tactics, including enhanced surveillance of the road and transport networks, increased high visibility patrols in areas of high demand, carried out warrants at addresses used for drug dealing, and performed welfare checks on vulnerable people.

As part of the Constabulary’s vulnerability checks, local policing teams benefit from vulnerability officers whose role is to identify and support vulnerable people within their communities, provide support through visits, and co-ordinate partnership support through Social care, addiction services and charities,. This reduces the risk to these people and to supports them going forward.

Speaking on behalf of the five regional police forces, Assistant Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police, Mark Cooper said: “This operation is about combining the resources, intelligence and enforcement powers of all the police forces across the South West to create a ‘ring of steel’ against organised criminals looking to cause harm in this part of the country.

“We know that those who supply and distribute illegal drugs operate in a borderless way, creating complex networks of drugs lines in our towns and cities, and we need to mirror that if we are going to be successful in taking a strong and robust stance against this sort of criminality.”

Anyone with information about illegal drugs activity should report it to their local police service online or via Single Online Home or call 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

To pass on information anonymously, speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on 0800 555 111 or use their non-traceable online form. Contact will always remain 100% anonymous.

They will never ask for a name or contact details and the phone call or online report will never be traced. If the information supplied leads to an arrest and charge, there could be a cash reward of up to £1,000, without compromising your anonymity.