02/01/2019

More than £2.8 million of drugs seized in 2018

Cleveland Police seized £2,830,845 of drugs in 2018, including a cannabis farm of more than 700 plants in Hartlepool and one worth £680k in Stockton.

Suspected cocaine, crack cocaine, amphetamines and ‘MDMA’ tablets were also recovered during the year as part of investigations by the Community Drug Enforcement Team.

Cash totalling £30,000 was seized from suspected criminals during raids and the execution of warrants.

DS Max Leonard said: “Drug recoveries are largely down to intelligence-led policing and members of the public can assist with this.

“They are our eyes and ears within the communities which we serve and any intelligence we receive, we will act upon.

“We are very thankful for the public’s support when they come forward with information.

“Anyone who believes there is drug activity in their area should call Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Examples of 2018’s drug recoveries include:

·       In January 2018 a cannabis farm of more than 700 plants thought to be worth around £437,000 was found in Elwick Road, Hartlepool.

·       In September 2018, 600 suspected MDMA tablets with a street value of £6,000 were recovered from an address in Stockton. A man was arrested and released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

·       In October 2018 a cannabis farm with a street value of around £680, 000 was dismantled by police in Yarm Road, Stockton.

Typical signs of a cannabis being grown inside a property include a strong smell, bright lights in the address at unusual times of day and unusual heat from the property, caused by artificial lighting. This may be seen when frost or snow clears from the roof quickly in comparison to neighbouring properties.

Police are keen landlords and letting agents in particular are aware that criminals may try and use properties to create cannabis farms.

DS Leonard added: “We have found in some investigations that the people taking out tenancy agreements never actually live at the address, instead someone – sometimes a human trafficking victim - is forced to live and work in the unpleasant and dangerous conditions within the cannabis production. Landlords and agencies need to be wary and carry out sufficient checks when letting properties.”