Police hunting ‘organised crime group’ growing cannabis in Newport city centre
Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter
Police in Newport believe recent raids have disrupted an “organised crime group” growing cannabis in the city centre’s empty buildings.
Another 2,500 cannabis plants have been uncovered in central Newport since the end of November, according to a senior officer, who said Gwent Police had seized £7 million of the Class-B drug in raids.
The force has made a total of 17 arrests to date, in connection with alleged drug offences, and confiscated a total of 11,500 cannabis plants, as part of what is now called Operation Forester.
Superintendent Jason White told a meeting of Newport City Council he could “assure” members the number of arrests “will grow”.
“We have clearly unearthed an organised crime group working not just in the Newport area but across Gwent and further afield,” he said. “We’ve got a dedicated team that has been allocated to the investigation, and you will see in the coming weeks and months some further proactive work going on”.
Supt White also said his officers had been tackling a spate of commercial burglaries in the city centre, which “peaked” in November when there were 25 incidents reported to the police.
Special patrols had worked, he said, telling councillors the force had arrested six suspects who had all been remanded into custody and were due to appear in court.
Since November, the number of commercial burglaries in central Newport had fallen, he added – down to 10 reported incidents in December, and a further five in January.
Council leader Jane Mudd thanked the superintendent for those results, telling him: “In this difficult time our retailers do face a lot of challenges, so it is really positive to hear the work that is going on, particularly in the city centre.”
Superintendent White also said officers had carried out an “extremely successful” crackdown on shoplifting, in Newport and Monmouthshire, in the run-up to Christmas.
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