Uk : Police Target Drug Dealers

20 May 2008

Police seized a firearm, 160 cannabis plants and made 18 arrests during a major anti-drug trafficking operation in south Bristol.

Around 100 police officers raided 26 suspected drug dealers' addresses yesterday, as part of National Tackling Drugs Week.

Quantities of heroin and cocaine were seized during the raids, as well as 300 counterfeit DVDs, stolen cigarettes and other stolen property.

By yesterday afternoon officers had served 26 of the 46 warrants available to them, 17 of which were successful.

The raids brought the total number of "cannabis factories" in the Avon and Somerset force area up to 95 in the past year.

One of the first raids took plat at just after 8am, in Holbrook Crescent, a cul-de-sac in Hartcliffe. Officers found a cannabis factory in one of the bedrooms.

Sergeant Chris Smith said: "This was a very small cannabis factory, with approximately 20 plants with all the growing kit, lights and transformers. Each plant can produce anywhere between £100 and £1,000 of cannabis."

A subsequent raid in St John's Lane, Totterdown, was more successful and resulted in one man being arrested.

Officers broke into the council flat, and found another cannabis factory with about 30 plants.

The front room was devoted to growing plants of the stronger skunk variety. The walls of the room were wrapped in foil to reflect light from several large UV lights.

An air filtration and ventilation system had also been installed to maintain the temperature.

Sergeant Tim Hill said: "The occupier has been arrested on suspicion of the cultivation of cannabis. Now we must secure the evidence we have at the flat and interview the person who has been arrested."

Similar raids were carried out in south Bristol throughout the morning. Officers were joined by Bristol City Council housing officers, dog handlers and Police Community Support Officers.

Neighborhood inspector Jeff Foreman said: "The activity in Bristol was part of an ongoing drive to crack down on drug-related crime to improve the quality of life for communities."

He added: "The operation was a huge success in identifying suspected drug dealers and disrupting drug markets."

Bristol city councilor Derek Pickup, executive member for care, tackling deprivation and crime, and chairman of the Safer Bristol Partnership, said the police and city council operation sent a message of zero tolerance to drug misuse on council property.

He added: "We can and will continue to work with the police to take action against anyone who deals drugs from one of our tenancies."