POLICE raided properties in Salisbury as part of a national crackdown on drug dealing.
Forces across the country shut down 172 County Lines – which see properties and people used to distribute drugs in rural communities – during a week-long national operation.
In Wiltshire, eight people were arrested, more than a £1,000 in cash recovered, £500 worth of drugs seized, and three County Lines disrupted during the operation, which ran from October 3 to 9.
Officers from Wiltshire Police’s Fortitude Team were supported by officers and staff from Community Neighbourhood Teams and the Roads Policing Unit.
A total of seven warrants were carried out on properties in Swindon, Chippenham and Salisbury.
Eight arrests were made; six men and two juveniles aged between 16 and 52 years-old were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs.
Three were released on conditional bail, four were Released Under Investigation (RUI’d) and a 20-year-old man from Bristol was remanded in custody.
Meanwhile, a total of £1200 in cash was seized, two knives, a home-made spear and a machete were seized, approximately 23 wraps of drugs (heroin and cocaine) seized, as well as designer clothes and two vehicles.
Detective Inspector Sarah Champion, who led the operation, said: “Working with colleagues from other areas of policing as well as partners is a good example of successful collaboration where we are all committed to tackling County Lines and those criminals involved, as well as protecting those at risk of being exploited by unscrupulous these gangs.
“We know that the public have real concerns about the impact of County Lines in our towns, in our communities; however, I hope people are reassured by our ongoing efforts and the hard work by officers and staff across the Force in tackling this type of organised criminality.
“Not only are these criminals selling drugs to vulnerable drug users, creating a cycle of misery and knock-on criminality, but this directly impacts our communities.
“Our work will always continue against the distribution of drugs in our county. However, we can’t be everywhere and we need the public’s help to report any suspicious activity in their neighbourhood.
“I would urge anyone who suspects drug gangs operating in their area to contact us.”
PCC Phil Wilkinson said: “Communities are destroyed by drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour, not to mention the impact this has on vulnerable people who end up being used by criminal gangs – the knock-on effects of drug dealers in communities can make life unbearable.
“Listening to residents’ concerns was key in the strategic focus given in my police and crime plan.
“Wiltshire Police will continue to disrupt drug supplies, robustly deal with criminals and rid our streets of drugs.”
If you suspect a crime or believe someone is being exploited, contact police on 101, report it online via the Wiltshire Police website or phone 999 in an emergency.
You can also report anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.