Police turn up the heat on criminals

Double the normal amount of raids on North Devon criminals in past three months - with offenders warned: ‘We won’t be letting up’.

POLICE have been turning up the heat on drug dealers and other criminals during a three-month flurry of raids on homes around the region.

Offenders have been warned that if they haven’t already had a knock on their door, they can expect one soon.

Officers have served more than twice the normal amount of search warrants during a co-ordinated sting that has targeted properties in Bideford (11), Barnstaple (nine), Ilfracombe (seven), Torrington (two), Braunton (one) and Holsworthy (one).

Yesterday (Tuesday) police raided a home at Forches Avenue, in Barnstaple, seizing ‘a significant quantity’ of what is thought to be drugs. A man and a woman have been arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.

Barnstaple and North Devon Sector Inspector Pete Sarney said ‘without a doubt’ operations had disrupted criminal activities, including the supply of drugs – and police had no plans to ease up.

“We will sustain this throughout the coming months,” he said.

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“If you are involved in criminality and haven’t yet been the subject of police action, you may well be in the very near future.”

Insp Sarney said this strong action from the police had been in direct response to information provided by people in the communities concerned.

In nearly all raids, drugs or stolen goods were recovered. Of 31 homes searched since April, 25 produced ‘positive’ outcomes, meaning a crime was logged and an individual dealt with.

Three simultaneous warrants served in Belmont Road, Gould Road and Belle Meadow Court in Barnstaple on Wednesday, June 27 saw drugs and stolen goods recovered, with some arrests made and the possibility of more to come as the investigation continues.

Police also carried out a significant number of stop searches on people in the street, with 16 revealing drugs, shoplifting or anti-social behaviour offences.

Acting Sergeant Lucy Skinner, who has been tasked with co-ordinating the raids, said there had been a great team effort across the board and police were very pleased with the results.

“We have at least doubled the amount of warrants we would normally serve during the same period,” she said.

“The work done has pulled together response, crime and local policing teams to promote teamwork within the force and a positive message to members of the public.”

Insp Sarney praised all of the officers involved: “I’d like to thank the team for the concerted effort they have put in over recent months and I am really pleased with such excellent results.

“Their efforts have really helped to disrupt criminal activities and bring those involved to justice.”

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