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Police seize thousands of cannabis plants in county lines crackdown

20 Oct 2023 4 minute read
A total of 4,500 cannabis plants were seized by Gwent Police officers

A total of 4,500 cannabis plants were seized by Gwent Police officers as part of a crackdown to disrupt county lines activity.

Two large-scale cannabis farms were dismantled, 18 kilograms of amphetamine recovered and £1,400 cash seized as part of the UK-wide county lines week of action.

Fourteen people were arrested and eight have been charged with offences relating to the supply, production or importation of Class A or B drugs, after operations held between Monday 9 October and Sunday 15 October.

Two people at risk of exploitation were also made safe.

A quantity of cocaine was located while mobile phones and cultivation equipment were removed by officers as part of the intensification activity.

Detective Inspector Ian Bartholomew said: “We’re working relentlessly to crack down on county lines, which bring misery to our communities in the form of drug dealing and violence.

“Those involved in county lines have adapted their approaches after persistent police pressure on their illegal activities by targeting the vulnerable in different areas of the country to run drugs for them.

“We’re dedicated to bringing those responsible for violence and exploitation to justice.

“There are many avenues available to us, including increased use of modern slavery legislation, to target line holders.”

Vulnerable children

County lines is a drugs distribution model using mobile phones where drugs are exported from major cities and imported into other areas, often using vulnerable children and adults.

Officers carried out warrants, under the Misue of Drugs Act, at addresses across the county, including in Newport, Cwmbran and Abercarn.

Officers discovered more than 4,450 cannabis plants at three addresses in Newport, dismantling two large-scale cultivations at former commercial buildings.

During warrants at two addresses in Cwmbran, police seized a kilogram of cannabis, a quantity of cocaine, £1,000 in cash and five weapons, along with firearms cartridges.

Officers arrested four people in connection with the supply of cannabis at an address in Newport.

A 47-year-old man from the Newport area was charged with possession of Class A and B drugs with the intent to supply after officers stopped a car in Newport.

As part of the intensification week, officers also highlighted the dangers of county lines involvement by speaking to children, parents, teachers and residents in Chepstow, Caldicot, Magor, Bargoed and Caerphilly.

At risk

Officers carried out patrols in Newport city centre to look out for children at risk of exploitation and spoke to adults at risk of being sexually exploited and recruited into county lines.

Detective Inspector Bartholomew said: “A large part of these intensification weeks is about educating young and vulnerable people on the dangers of county lines and the signs to look out for of exploitation.

“One form of control to exploit a vulnerable person involved in county lines is by using their home as a base for dealing drugs; a process known as cuckooing.

“Our officers gave safeguarding advice to three addresses in Monmouthshire and met staff at Newport City Homes to discuss the risk of their residents being cuckooed and exploited into county lines.”

He added: “We encourage members of the public to come forward with information to help those vulnerable people, including children, to be safeguarded.

“By disrupting supply lines and taking those involved out of circulation, we can make Gwent’s communities safer. But we can only do this with the support and information that we get from residents.”

If you have any concerns that someone you know is being exploited or have concerns about drug dealing in your area, you can contact the police on on 101 or 999 in an emergency. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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6 months ago

How much money and police time are we going to keep wasting on this. Obviously I’m not condoning criminal gangs, exploitation of vulnerable people, enslavement, etc. But the criminal empire around drugs is always going to exist while they are illegal. Take the power out of the hands of criminals and legalise them. Enforce strict quality controls so people know that they’re not getting something that’s been cut with baking soda or powdered concrete. Tax the production, distribution, and sale, and use the proceeds to fund rehabilitation programmes for those most at risk of or vulnerable to abuse. Just look… Read more »

6 months ago
Reply to  blc

I’ve just got back from Canada where it is legalised and the system there seems to be working well. You can buy it but basically can only smoke it on your own property as so many areas have no smoking (of any kind) signs, making it difficult to do it publicly.

Richard Burton
Richard Burton
6 months ago

It’s a plant that grows naturally. I cannot believe that this is how police time is wasted. Why is the U.K still trailing on this issue?

6 months ago

No to the hard drugs but that cannabis could be legalised in that a licence sold (currently the licence is held by a Tory) for growing rights and then sold and taxed in cafes etc. The whole of Pill (Newport) is full of old bars from the days of the docks and there is a big police station down there. It would suit cannabis cafe culture. With the tax income we could support hard drugs users with help such is the policy of Portugal. But no, the Tories and Westminster keep us in the dark ages for “wars on” either… Read more »

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago

I am no fan of drugs at all and you can increasingly smell weed passing residential houses and even see people openly using drugs. But I’ve come to the conclusion (later than many people) that they should be legalised, quality controlled, taxed and re-legislated accordingly. The criminal gangs will just find something else disgusting, exploitative and repulsive to do, but the approach we currently use has not worked in 50 years. Perhaps we could try it somewhere that drug use is particularly problematic (although they would inevitably get drug tourists that would skew the results, and the crims and the… Read more »

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