Three raids in Bedford have helped police across the eastern region arrest 60 people, charge one man, and bring a victim of modern slavery into protection.
The local raids, carried out by Bedfordshire Police, were part of a co-ordinated operation at 23 properties across London and the eastern region on 21 and 22 January.
200 officers from seven forces, including the National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police, carried out warrants to tackle county drugs lines, in particular those operating out of London into towns across our area.
The term ‘county drugs lines’ is used to describe gangs, groups or drug networks that supply drugs from urban to suburban areas across the country.
As part of the Bedford raids at three properties on Clapham Road, Midland Road and Hartington Street:
- A 21-year-old man from Croydon has been charged with drug supply offences in Bedfordshire
- A 56-year-old man was arrested and since released under investigation for drug supply offences
- A 16-year-old boy has been put into the national referral mechanism system for modern slavery victims
- Bedfordshire Police secured closure orders at the three properties
The wider raids resulted in 1,000 wraps of Class A drugs being seized, along with cannabis, a number of knives and imitation firearms, and approximately £20,000 in cash.
“This is why we’re working together as police forces and a regional organised crime unit, alongside the National Crime Agency, to disrupt those who run and profit from them, and to safeguard those affected.
“We’re really pleased with the results of this co-ordinated response to an issue which causes serious harm to our communities; this has been the product of months of hard work by officers.
“We have targeted those controlling county lines due to the links with the exploitation of vulnerable people, the peddling of dangerous and illicit substances, and associated violence.
“The success of these types of operations replies upon communities working with their local police officers, providing information to help identify those dealing the drugs in their area as well as those who are vulnerable and being exploited.
“If you do have any concerns in your area, please do contact your local force on 101.”