• More than half a million pounds worth of drugs have been seized in a series of covert police operations across Gloucestershire and the West Country
  • thousands of pounds in cash were recovered a more than a hundred arrests made during five days of raids code-named Operation Scorpion
  • Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson said, “Operation Scorpion sends a clear message that Gloucestershire is no place for illegal drugs”
  • Operation Scorpion is a collaboration between the five police services in the West Country and the region’s five PCCs.

Drugs with a street value of more than a half a million pounds have been seized and over a hundred arrests made by police in a series of covert raids in Gloucestershire and other parts of the West Country.

In the latest co-ordinated attack on organised gangs, hundreds of ‘drug lines’ were disrupted, thousands of pounds recovered and hundreds vulnerable adults and children protected.

The operation, code-named ‘Scorpion’, which involved five police services, took place over five days last week. Those are some of the results announced today.

Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Chris Nelson said, “Op Scorpion sends a clear message that Gloucestershire is no place for drugs, and if you provide information about illegal drug dealing in our County, the Police will take it seriously and act on that intelligence”.

During the last week in Gloucestershire, there were:

  • 21 drug line disruptions
  • 16 arrests and five charges
  • £7,030 cash seized
  • operational highlights: Warrants executed in Gloucester resulted in more than £100,000 worth of cannabis plants being located and an 11 per cent increase in information relating to drugs being passed onto the police during the week.

Throughout the West Country there were:

  • 127 arrests
  • 55 warrants carried out
  • 465 disruptions to drug lines
  • 237 vulnerable children and adults safeguarded
  • Approximately £638,000 worth of suspected drugs seized
  • More than £180,000 of cash seized

Police say a vast array of weapons seized including air rifles, knuckledusters and knives was also confiscated.

Mr. Nelson said, “Illegal drugs do enormous harm, not just to individuals but to whole communities who can be blighted by the terrible anti-social behaviour and criminality that they cause. As your Police and Crime Commissioner, I want it to stop.

“That’s why my Police and Crime Commissioner colleagues in the South West and I have championed Operation Scorpion, and I’m pleased to see officers in Gloucestershire have embraced this approach, taking dangerous criminals and drugs off our streets.

“You can expect to hear a lot more about this in future.”

Operation Scorpion is a collaboration between the five police forces in the South West region, Gloucestershire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Wiltshire and Avon and Somerset.  The region’s five Police and Crime Commissioners, the British Transport Police, South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU) and the charity Crimestoppers are also combing their resources to tackle drug supply in the region and make the South West a hostile environment for drugs.

Speaking on behalf of the five regional police forces, Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “Protecting our communities is fundamental to our policing approach in the South West and this operation firmly puts the people we serve at the heart of it.

“Operation Scorpion is about combining the resources, intelligence and enforcement powers of all the police forces across the South West to create the most hostile environment we can for those intent on peddling their illegal drugs in our region.

“Central to helping us achieve this is engaging with our local communities to ensure they know the signs to spot, what information to report to us and how.

“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.”

The first phase of Operation Scorpion took place in March and resulted in the arrest of nearly 200 people, disruption to 400 drug lines, the seizure of over £400,000 in suspected drugs and £130,000 in cash. Over 300 vulnerability and welfare checks were also carried out.