Guns, cash and drugs seized in Wiltshire Police crackdown

FIREARMS, more than £33,000 worth of Class A drugs and £24,000 in illicit cash have been taken off Wiltshire streets during a regional crackdown on criminal drugs gangs.

Wiltshire Police has been working with four other police forces across the South West (Avon and Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall, Gloucestershire), alongside their Offices of Police and Crime Commissioners, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SWROCU) and the charity Crimestoppers, as part of Operation Scorpion.

The latest, seventh phase of Scorpion, aimed to combine police resources to create a ‘Ring of Steel’ across the region, making it an uninhabitable environment for drugs and criminal gangs.

As part of our operation police made 176 disruptions – where drug-dealing activity is disrupted, a County Line broken and drug gangs targeted.

“During the operation we also found three children who were being exploited to run drugs as part of County Lines gangs and were missing from their homes from outside the county,” a Wiltshire Police spokesperson said. “They were safely returned.”

In total, the operation, which ran from Monday, March 4, to Sunday, March 10, achieved the following results:
31 arrests made
£24,000 cash seized
Class A drugs (cocaine and heroin) valued at £33,600
27 people safeguarded
79 cuckooed addresses visited

Weapons seized included two real guns, one imitation gun, several knives (including 100 surrendered by the public), a Samurai Sword and a set of nunchucks.

A gun seized as part of Operation Scorpion. Picture: Wiltshire Police

A gun seized as part of Operation Scorpion. Picture: Wiltshire Police

Wiltshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Philip Wilkinson, said: “This iteration of Operation Scorpion has seen some great outcomes as a result of well planned and executed operations by Wiltshire Police and the other four Forces across a week of intensification.

“Operation Scorpion demonstrates a border-less approach to policing to reduce the serious harm and violence caused by drugs across the whole region, as drug crime isn’t just a problem in urban police areas.

“Drug crime, and the violence that usually accompanies it blights the lives of our residents and the communities they live in. By continuing to report your concerns to the police they are better placed to tackle the issues head on and take action as demonstrated by Operation Scorpion.

“I’m particularly concerned about the criminal exploitation of young people by drugs gangs and want to urge parents to not shy away from having the difficult conversations with their child if they’re concerned. Parents must have open conversations with their children around County Lines, knife crime and associated criminality, and know what signs to look out for.”

Detective Superintendent Charlotte Tucker said: “We are pleased with the results of this iteration of Operation Scorpion as our officers and staff managed to not only seize substantial amounts of illegal drugs and proceeds of crime like cash and assets, but also safeguarded many vulnerable people.

“We are attempting to make Wiltshire safer by taking illegal substances off the streets, arresting those who deal them as well as dismantling those criminal gangs and County Lines.

“Equally as important is the work we are doing to protect and help those vulnerable victims – often children and young adults – who are exploited to become part of these criminal networks.

“Our work this time has led to three children, who were from outside of our area, being returned safely to where they live.

“Safeguarding these vulnerable people is our priority along with protecting all in our communities.

“We know those living in our towns and villages are often affected by this type of criminality which causes misery and harm to our communities.

“Our work doesn’t stop at the end of this operation. We know that those who supply and distribute illegal drugs operate in a border-less way, creating complex networks of drugs lines across the region. We will continue to take a strong and robust stance against this sort of exploitative criminality.

“Our message is clear – Wiltshire and the South West is no place for drugs.”

People can report information anonymously to, or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111. They can also contact Wiltshire Police on 101.

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