Skip to content Skip to menu

Collaborative action impacts drugs gangs across the South West

More than £800,000 worth of drugs and 267 weapons have been taken off the streets in the seventh iteration of an initiative designed to create a ‘ring of steel’ around the South West.

A collaboration between police forces in Dorset, Devon & Cornwall, Avon & Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, their respective Police and Crime Commissioners, British Transport Police, the South West Regional Organised Crime Unit (SW ROCU), and the charity Crimestoppers, Operation Scorpion focuses on pooling resources to combat drug supply in the region to make the South West a hostile environment for drugs.

Police across the South West have actively engaged in this latest stage of Operation Scorpion, intensifying efforts to dismantle drug supply networks and create an inhospitable environment for criminals. Through collaborative and targeted initiatives, the aim was to support local communities in the South West, working with them to tackle drug related activity across the region and make the South West a hostile environment for drugs.

The seventh phase of Operation Scorpion seamlessly aligned with the National County Lines Intensification Week, spanning from March 4, 2024, to March 10, 2024. The focus of this phase was targeting visible street dealing and the impact of drug activity within our local communities, highlighting the importance of intelligence from local people to help police support communities and to demonstrate the metaphoric ring of steel around the South West – making it harder for criminals to cross borders in the South West to conduct crime.

During the week police cracked down on drugs activities through a multifaceted approach including targeted warrant executions, visible policing in hotspot areas, address checks known to have been linked to cuckooing, patrols along the travel networks of the South West and robust efforts to safeguard vulnerable individuals.

Using valuable community intelligence, forces executed targeted enforcement activities, strategically disrupting individuals who exploit and profit from the harmful impact drugs have on local communities. This collaborative initiative demonstrates the relentless shared commitment to protect communities against those determined to bring harm.

Across the South West region, this led to:

  • 126 arrests
  • Over £814,000 worth of drugs seized (including one seizure of three bottles of Methadone, five Valium tablets, 166 MDMA tablets, tobacco and vapes with a value of £500,000)
  • Over £95,000 cash seized
  • 67 weapons seized and over 200 weapons surrendered by the public
  • 135 vulnerable people safeguarded.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, David Sidwick said: “I know the damage illegal drugs can do to communities, and that is why I am so pleased to see these results from the latest round of Operation Scorpion.

“During phase seven, as well as maintaining our focus on the ‘ring of steel’ across the South West, our aim was to target visible street dealing by disrupting those who cause harm in our communities through drug dealing and other associated crimes.

“From stopping vehicles and carrying out warrants at reported properties to safeguarding vulnerable people and returning stolen goods to businesses, I saw first-hand the work carried out by officers and want to thank and commend them for their dedication to driving drugs out of our communities.

“I am clear; drug gangs and those intent on bringing illegal drugs to Dorset and the wider South West region will be targeted and removed. The police will find you; they will follow you and they won’t stop until they’ve got you.

“Lastly, I want to thank you, the public for your intelligence reports, and encourage you to keep reporting the small pieces of information which could make the biggest difference to where you live. It is only with information from the public that police can crack these gangs and drive drugs out of the South West. Together, we can all continue to make Dorset #NoPlaceForDrugs.”

Neil Corrigan, Assistant Chief Constable of Dorset Police, representing the five forces said: “This was a large operation involving both uniform and plain clothes officers across the region to disrupt drug activity and support local communities.

“The activity carried out as part of Operation Scorpion was centred on the intelligence and information received from local communities about individuals involved in drug supply.

“Using information reported to police and CrimeStoppers, forces were able to build up a picture of what illegal activity was happening and use the intelligence to inform how and where we would target our operational activity.

“I would like to thank the public for the information they have provided and reinforce the importance of community intelligence to the success of operations like this. Please continue to contact us with information and report any concerns you may have, whether in relation to drug activity, vulnerable people being exploited or any other suspicious activity and help us make the South West a hostile environment for drug related crime”

Anyone with information about illegal drugs activity should report it to their local police service online or via 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, you can pass information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers. They are available 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year on 0800 555 111 or you can use their non-traceable online form. Contact will remain 100% anonymous. Always.

They will never ask for a name or contact details and the phone call or online report will never be traced. If the information supplied leads to an arrest and charge, there could be a cash reward of up to £1,000.

Confirmation Required