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Major operation targets Lancaster and Morecambe drugs gangs

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Drugs, weapons and cash have been recovered by police as part of a major operation aimed at disrupting organised crime groups in Lancaster and Morecambe.

Operation Penne was a week-long campaign by Lancashire Police targeting criminal gangs bringing heroin and cocaine into the area.

Between November 11 and November 17, officers executed warrants at two addresses in Lancaster and another in Heysham, with cash, drugs and weapons – including a crossbow and air rifle – seized.

The operation followed intelligence suggesting drugs gangs from cities were expanding their operations into the areas, using violence to drive out local dealers and exploiting children and vulnerable people to sell drugs – also known as County Lines.

Det Insp Abi Finch-Hall, of Lancashire Police, said: “Operation Penne has been an intelligence-led operation to target individuals dealing drugs in Lancaster and Morecambe.

“Drugs can cause misery for communities, not only for the people who take drugs but also for residents who live in areas where drug activity is taking place.

“Lancashire Constabulary is committed to tackling those who supply drugs across the county.

“We will not tolerate individuals who supply drugs in Lancaster and Morecambe and we will arrest and prosecute those who choose to actively sell drugs.”

Activity included:

• A warrant at a property in Shakespeare Road in Lancaster on November 12 led to suspected heroin and crack cocaine being recovered, as well as quantity of cash.

• A warrant at an address in Heysham on November 13. More than £2,000 in cash, as well as a quantity of suspected heroin and crack cocaine valued at £6,000 was recovered. A car was also seized. A man was arrested and later charged by police.

• A warrant at an address on November 16 on the Marsh estate in Lancaster where suspected cocaine and more than £1,250 in cash was recovered.

• On November 11 a person was arrested in Lancaster on suspicion of supplying cannabis in Greaves Park. A crossbow was later recovered from their address.

As well as conducting warrants, plain-clothed officers worked to identify drug dealers in Morecambe, with a knife arch used in the town and talks on knife crime held at local schools.

Sgt Adie Knowles, of Morecambe Police, said: “Operation Penne is a multi-department response to the dealing of Class A drugs in our area, the exploitation of the most vulnerable in our community and associated violence.

“Even at this early stage we have had some results that will have a significant impact on those who chose to deal drugs.

“This is a challenge that never ever goes away and we can only get these types of results with valuable information from the public.

“I ask if anyone has any information regarding the dealing of drugs, or you are aware of individuals that are out and about with knives and weapons then let us know via Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111."

Paul Kelly, 34, of no fixed address, was charged with possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A – Heroin and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - Crack Cocaine. He was remanded to appear at Preston Magistrates’ Court on November 14.


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