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Commissioner praises 'very best of policing' as 46 people arrested during Plymouth drug operation

Officers seized quantities of heroin, crack, cocaine, cannabis and spice during a series of targeted raids – one of which saw officers use a chainsaw to gain access to a property.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has praised police for a hugely successful collaborative operation which has disrupted county lines drug supply within the South West.
Commissioner Alison Hernandez said the joint two-day operation, involving officers from Plymouth and the Project Medusa team from Merseyside, showcased the very best of policing.
Overall, 46 people were arrested and thousands of pounds worth of drugs, guns, weapons, cash and vehicles were seized by officers. The operation took place on Tuesday, March 1 and Wednesday, March 2.
Commissioner Hernandez, who has made tackling drugs a major priority within her Police and Crime Plan, has vowed to work closely with the other South West Police and Crime Commissioners to make the entire region a hostile area for drug dealers.
During the two-day operation in Plymouth, local officers worked with the Project Medusa team - a Merseyside-led initiative set up to tackle County Lines drug dealing and child criminal exploitation, much of which stems from Liverpool and the surrounding area.
The operation, which was specially funded by the Home Office, saw two inspectors, three police sergeants and 22 officers use specialist intelligence, technology and equipment to disrupt drug supply within Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
Officers seized quantities of heroin, crack, cocaine, cannabis and spice during a series of targeted raids – one of which saw officers use a chainsaw to gain access to a property. They also took possession of a number of weapons including suspected firearms, knives, a knuckleduster and even a crossbow.
Of those arrested, nine people were charged, (eight men and one woman) on a range of offences, including possession of drugs, dangerous driving, driving whilst unfit and assault.
Thirty-seven people were arrested on suspicion of a range of offences including possession of drugs, being concerned in the supply of drugs, dangerous driving, money laundering and being in possession of offensive weapons.
Of those arrested, three people were issued with cautions, and others were released under investigation or police bail, pending further enquiries.
A number of those arrested were from the Plymouth area but others were from outside the area.
The operation was the culmination of months of work by Detective Inspector Steve Fleetwood and his team which involved more than 300 submissions of intelligence.
Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, BCU Commander for Plymouth, said: “A lot of planning has gone into making sure we have a really proactive week and make the biggest impact we can on dangerous drug networks and county lines that supply drugs into the city.
“This has been a very successful operation and I’d like to say a huge thanks to Merseyside Police, British Transport Police and our officers here in Plymouth.”
Commissioner Hernandez pledged to make cracking down on drug use a priority after 44% of respondents named it as one of their primary concerns in a survey last year (2021).
She has warned that more operations like this can be expected throughout the entire South West as forces and Police and Crime Commissioners collaborate to hit drug dealers hard.
She said: “Drugs are a scourge on our society. They have a devastating impact on individuals, families and businesses in communities across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Our communities are frustrated by blatant drug dealing and using, which is why I have made tackling drugs a major priority in my police and crime plan.
“This operation showcased the robust and collaborative approach we need to be taking towards drug dealing in the South West.
“By utilising the specialist skills of the Project Medusa team, backed up by the local expertise of officers on the ground in Plymouth, we have shown just how much damage we can cause to organised crime networks operating in the South West.
“I am working hand-in-hand with the other regional Police and Crime Commissioners who are all determined to make the South West a hostile environment for drug dealing. People in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly can expect to see more hard-hitting operations like this over the coming months.”
Commissioner Hernandez urged anyone with information about drug dealing and antisocial drug taking to share any information they can anonymously.
She said: “It’s vital that people feel confident to report drug dealing confidentially, without fear of reprisals, which they can do by contacting CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or by visiting https://crimestoppers-uk.org/.”
You can see the Commissioner’s full Police and Crime Plan by visiting https://www.devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk/plan-and-performance/