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Wednesday, 03 September 2014

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Cumbria police pledge to tackle drug suppliers 'head-on'

Senior detectives in Cumbria say the seizure of nearly £1 million worth of drugs in the last two months should serve as a warning to criminals.

Rob O
Rob O'Connor

The haul of amphetamine, cannabis and heroin is the latest evidence of how Cumbria police is tackling the county’s drug trade.

The finds are also proof that criminals who transport hard drugs along routes such as the M6 – where many of the drugs were intercepted – are increasingly likely to be caught.

Detective Chief Inspector Rob O’Connor told the News & Star: “Any of these criminals who think of Cumbria as a soft touch should think again.

“Whether they are thinking of supplying drugs in Cumbria or using our arterial routes such as the M6 to transport their drugs from one county to another, these latest seizures show how effective we are.

“We use a number of tactics and intelligence and the results are positive.

“Our message to these people is that if you want to get involved in drug supply then go ahead – and we will meet you head-on and take you to court and you’ll go to prison.

“We are dedicated to removing drugs from the streets of Cumbria, and making it difficult for the area to be used as a gateway into other counties.

“Drugs have a detrimental effect on people’s lives, from those who are caught in the cycle of drug misuse, to the families and friends who have to watch their loved ones deteriorate because of this addiction. The community also suffers because of crime in the area.

Cumbrian officers were last week involved in raids across the England, which led to five arrests and the seizure of cannabis bushes worth £35,000 in London and Hampshire.

The officers’ operation also uncovered cannabis growing kit in the West Midlands, and plants with a potential street value of £78,000.

Evidence suggests a link with Cumbria which is being further investigated.

Codenamed Operation Maximus, the investigation came out of the discovery of a large-scale cannabis growing operation near Penrith in 2012.

Detective sergeant Paddy McDonnell, from Cumbria Constabulary’s drugs squad, said: “Operation Maximus has involved a lot of hard work.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but last week marked an important turning point in the investigation.

“These discoveries come days after the launch of the national Crimestoppers campaign which aims to educate people about cannabis cultivation. We often rely on information from members of the public in order to find cannabis farms and prevent drugs from entering our local communities.”

Several major drugs criminals have been given hefty sentences in recent years as police continue to target criminals higher up the supply chain.

Anyone with any concerns or suspicions should call Cumbria police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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