SOMERSET NEWS: Drugs busts in Taunton

SOMERSET NEWS: Drugs busts in Taunton

POLICE have arrested 23 people and executed 15 search warrants in relation to drug supply in Taunton.

Officers from the Taunton Neighbourhood Policing Team, supported by colleagues from the police’s Investigations Team, Operational Support and Dog Units, carried out the warrants on Wednesday (July 5, 2017) across the town to disrupt drug supply in the area.

Chief Inspector Lisa Simpson, who heads up policing for West Somerset, said: “Assistant Chief Constable Caroline Peters and I were out on the ground with our officers and staff to demonstrate our commitment to tackling drug dealing for our local communities.

“23 people were arrested and an additional three were arrested last week, for supply offences, in the lead up to today.”

Weapons and drugs were seized at many of the properties and those arrested were taken to Bridgwater Police Centre.

Chief Inspector Simpson continued: “Today wasn’t just about taking drug dealers off the street; more importantly it was about protecting vulnerable people who are exploited due to debt, addiction, mental health problems or other issues that make them an easy target. We won’t tolerate it.

“Dealers identify and then use vulnerable people in our communities – whether that’s to use their home as a base or for transporting drugs; it can have a huge impact on those individuals who often end up homeless, in the justice system and with drug debt and addiction. We want to prevent that.”

Several of the warrants were executed at a property run by Taunton Association for the Homeless.

Chief Executive Justin Roxburgh said: "Taunton Association for the Homeless (TAH) is in full support of the recent operation conducted by Avon and Somerset Police.

“TAH does not in any way permit the use of drugs in any of our premises. Our main priority is to keep our clients safe and protect them against any harm that may arise from taking illegal substances. Lives are being ruined or even lost.

"Unfortunately it is our most vulnerable clients who are targeted by ruthless drug dealers. This Police action sends a strong message to these people that their actions will not be tolerated.  We would like to thank Avon and Somerset Police for their continued support."

Chief Inspector Simpson added: “We hope today’s activities reassure residents that we do listen and we do take action. Please keep supplying us with information either about drug dealing, or about people you feel might be exploited by drug dealers.”

To report suspected drug crime or alert us to someone you think might be vulnerable, you can call 101. Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.