Has Devon got a drug problem?

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

70% Rise in drug use in Devon & Cornwall

Drug busts have soared by nearly 70% in Devon and Cornwall in the space of only 12 months, shocking new figures have revealed.

Officers in the two counties recorded 4,360 drug seizures in 2016/17, a 69% rise on the previous year, with cocaine, crack and Ecstasy driving the upward trend.

To put this figure into context, drugs busts dropped by 7% across England and Wales as a whole in the same time period, according to statistics released by the Home Office. Over the last year, drug crime has been at the forefront of the news on an almost weekly basis.

In October, police launched Operation Cleft as part of a fightback against organised gangs from around the UK trying to flood the streets of Devon with crack cocaine and heroin. Raids took place at addresses across Exeter aimed at disrupting the supply of Class A drugs.

The operation was launched after it became clear that gangs from London, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham were using new and violent methods to control the traffic of hard drugs into an area they see as a ‘soft touch’

One Liverpool gang had boasted that the good travel links and easy-going lifestyle in the South West make it a potential ‘gold mine’ for organised inner-city gangs.

In the last 12 months Devon and Cornwall
Police have noticed a surge in gang members from large cities trying to muscle into Exeter, Torbay and north Devon for a share of the
lucrative drugs market.

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