A further eight people have been charged with possession with intent to supply, money laundering, possession of class A, B and C drugs and production of cannabis following a 10 month investigation in to suspected drug crime in Highbridge, Burnham, Bridgwater and the wider Sedgemoor area.
The eight, who were charged last week, will attend court over the coming months and if convicted could face further investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The initial investigation, which started in October 2011, focused on a suspected drugs supply chain. Following the arrest of two people in the Bridgwater area, police identified approximately 30 individuals during the subsequent investigations thought to be supplying drugs or involved in other acquisitive crimes, such as theft from motor vehicles and burglary.
The investigation led to a day of action in March of this year. Officers executed ten misuse of drugs act warrants and eight section 18 searches at properties in and around Highbridge, Pawlett and Bridgwater.
30 people were arrested for a range of offences and officers uncovered two cannabis factories and seized a combined total of 137 cannabis plants worth approximately £130,000 pounds. They also found substances suspected to be heroin, amphetamine sulphate, crack cocaine, dried cannabis flowering heads and a large quantity of illegally possessed methadone.
Cash, totalling approximately £5000, was also seized. A large amount of suspected stolen property was also recovered from several addresses, including power tools, a mountain bike, mobile phones, credit cards and suspect stolen driving licences.
During the warrants assets were also seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act, including a BMW motor car, motorcycle, watches and televisions.
Sgt Ian Kennett from Burnham-on-Sea police station said: “We have been targeting suspected offenders specifically identified through a long running operation.
“Individuals involved in drug crime are damaging our communities and often commit further offences such as burglary and theft. None of which will be tolerated.
“Tackling the issues that our communities identify as key remains our priority. We hold regular meetings and beat surgeries, which are proving highly successful. They provide us with large amounts of intelligence direct from the community, which as this case shows informs our proactive work. They are also an opportunity for the community to help shape their local policing.
“We carried out over 33 warrants and section 18 searches in the Burnham and Highbridge area in relation to drugs last year and shut down six large scale cannabis factories. We will not tolerate drug dealing and associated crime and will continue to tackle it robustly.”
Inspector Roger Tolley, neighbourhood Inspector for the Sedgemoor area, added: “I intend to continue to tackle the issues that our communities have cited as their priority, particularly drug and acquisitive crime. These are my top priorities. This kind of criminality, which impacts not only on individual victims but the wider community, will not be tolerated.
“We will continue to work hard with the aim of maintaining and raising the public’s trust and confidence in their local police service, to ensure that the community’s needs are recognised and addressed and that the public, especially victims, are put first at all times.
“It is vital that the community continues talks to us. They are our eyes and ears. We need to know what is happening across the area. I encourage them to keep coming forward with information about what is happening in their neighbourhood. We will listen and we will take action, as this operation proves.”
If you have information about illegal activities in your area, you can either contact your local policing team by calling 101 or you can report it online by visiting www.avonandsomerset.police.uk
Alternatively you can call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org . They never ask for your name or trace your call.