Hundreds of people arrested in crackdown on drugs in Ashington

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of drugs has been recovered by police in Ashington.

Friday, 2nd April 2021, 10:00 am
Inspector Phil Patterson, who leads the Ashington Neighbourhood Policing Team.

In the past six months, 17 raids and nearly 250 arrests have been made by Northumbria Police, resulting in heroin, cannabis, cocaine, Valium and amphetamines taken off the streets.

The force launched Operation Momentum last September following a rise in drug misuse and a spike in drug related burglaries and assaults in Ashington.

The op sought to identify those causing the most harm in the town, disrupt activity, dismantle drug operations and put those involved in dealing behind bars.

Originally a four week trial, officers are hailing it a success with 241 people arrested in six months.

Inspector Phil Patterson, who leads the Ashington Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Ashington is still a great town with enormous community spirit.

"I want to stress that it is a minority of people involved in drug misuse and associated crimes, the mass majority of Ashington locals love their community and want to see it thrive.

“Those people deserve to feel safe in their hometown and that’s what Operation Momentum is really about.

"It is about protecting the community and making it a happy place to live by tackling organised crime, dismantling drug bases, getting drug dealers off our streets and protecting the vulnerable.

“Engagement is also at the heart of the policing operation with officers engaging with vulnerable victims and providing crucial intervention to those most in need. We have been working closely with Social Services to identify children and adults at risk and remove them from harmful situations.”

He added: “Operation Momentum is not a war on drugs, its aim is much deeper, to target organised crime under the banner of Operation Sentinel.

“Throughout our operation, we have dismantled several cannabis farms, as well as hubs selling other drugs; it’s important to remember quite often these illicit operations attract anti-social behaviour – an increase of people visiting properties, arguments, fights and thefts. The proceeds can also be used by organised criminals to fund other types of serious crime.

“Quite frankly, drug dealers and cannabis farms or any type of drug operation does not make for a good next door neighbour and no one deserves to have that next door or down the road.

“We would always encourage anybody who suspects drug misuse or supply in their communities to report their suspicions to police and during the course of this operation, thanks to your intelligence, we have successfully seized hundreds of thousands pounds of Class A and B drugs and made well over 200 arrests.

“Please keep supporting Momentum and being our eyes and ears. Together we can make Ashington a safe place to live, work and raise children and a town we can be really proud to call home.”