Nine arrested as police crack down on drugs

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NINE people have been arrested in a police crackdown on drugs and money-laundering.

Officers in Ashington have been targeting known and suspected criminals living in the town and as well as the arrests.

Drugs, money and illegal fuel were seized during a series of raids on the homes of 13 suspected crooks last week.

Five people were arrested for drugs offences and on suspicion of money-laundering.

So far, only one of them has been charged with drug supply and money-laundering, but investigations are ongoing.

Another two men and two women were released on bail pending further inquiries.

Officers discovered a cannabis farm in a house in Westmorland Avenue and also seized 1.5kg of amphetamines, what is described as a large quantity of blue tablets and cannabis from other addresses.

More than £7,000 in cash was confiscated by police, as were several drums containing diesel suspected to be stolen.

Elsewhere, police carried out high-visibility patrols on roads all last week to disrupt travelling criminals and catch speeding or dangerous drivers.

Roadside speed checks were set up at various locations, and ten motorists were sent warning letters about their driving, three were reported for driving offences and one had his vehicle seized for having no insurance.

Another four motorists were charged with drink-driving.

Officers from Ashington’s neighbourhood policing team carried out extra patrols in the Hirst area of town and North Seaton to keep up the pressure on criminals and offer safety advice to their potential victims.

Inspector Kevin Oates said: “This operation is just the start of the action that we have planned for the area for 2012.

“I want people living in Ashington to know that we are doing all we can to make the area a better and safer place to live.

“Crime in Ashington is down. There have been 80 fewer victims of crime compared to last year, and we are going to work hard to make sure that crime continues to fall.

“This operation should send a clear message out to criminals in Ashington that their behaviour will not be tolerated, not by the community and not by the police.

“Criminals are not welcome in our communities.

“We will continue to target, pursue and disrupt the lives of those who we believe are involved in crime and their associates.”