Northumberland crackdown on travelling criminals who use rail network to ferry drugs

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Police have launched a crackdown on travelling criminals who are reportedly using the rail network to ferry drugs as part of organised crime rackets.

Northumbria Police supported an operation led by the British Transport Police (BTP) to tackling the transportation of controlled drugs to Berwick.

The operation, named Op Defiant, was the result of months of work following reports of criminal activity on the rail network and in and around the town.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The covert day of action and saw officers from BTP and Northumbria Police join forces to carry out targeted patrols and tactics to disrupt organised crime and protect victims.

Police officers outside Berwick Railway Station.Police officers outside Berwick Railway Station.
Police officers outside Berwick Railway Station.

Police Sergeant Peter Wilcock, from the BTP, said: “Our taskforce has been operating since December, carrying out hundreds of county lines operations across England, Wales and Scotland and often working alongside our counter parts in local forces.

“This operation alongside Northumbria Police was designed to target drug gangs using the rail network to transport drugs and support and engage with the vulnerable children and adults these drug gangs often exploit.”

Neighbourhood Inspector John Swan, one of the leading officers from Northumbria Police, praised the local community for reporting concerns and commended the partnership.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He said: “This operation has been possible thanks to the strong relationship we have with the local Berwick community.

“I want to reassure residents that their concerns have been heard and we will continue to take action against those responsible for bringing drugs into our area.

“As shown during this operation, that action will be a holistic multi-agency approach that will act swiftly and robustly to ensure the safety of communities and that those suspected of criminality face the consequences of their actions.

“By continuing to work together with our partners we can use cross-partner intelligence and resources to disrupt, prevent and tackle crime.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

No arrests were made during the operation, which took place on Wednesday, June 24, although officers are still carrying out inquiries based on intelligence they received on the day.

Anyone concerned about criminality in their area is encouraged to contact 101 or use the Tell Us Something page on the Northumbria Police’s website.

Residents can also contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world.

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you.