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News Release

Police take action in Ashington

Dated: 11 Feb 2012

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Police in Ashington have arrested nine people and seized drugs, money and illegal fuel as part of a police operation in the town.

Last week officers carried out an operation aimed at tackling known criminals living in the area.

The operation was carried out in three phases. The first was aimed at targeting criminals through proactive searches and high profile raids. The second was a high a visibility roads policing operation - designed at targeting travelling criminals and dangerous drivers. And the third phase was all about crime prevention and reassuring the community.

Phase 1:
Throughout the week 13 search warrants were carried out by officers targeting the addresses of suspected drug dealers, burglars, thieves and stolen property handlers.

Officers arrested five people for drugs offences and on suspicion of money laundering.
Two men and two women have been bailed pending further enquiries but officers have charged one man with drug supply and money laundering offences.

Officers discovered a cannabis farm inside an address in Westmorland Avenue and also seized 1.5kg of amphetamines, a large quantity of blue tablets and various amounts of cannabis from other addresses.

Over £7,000 in cash was confiscated by police. The money is believed to be linked to crime and proceedings are underway to have this money seized under the Proceeds Of Crime Act.

A number of drums of suspected stolen diesel were seized.

Phase 2:
A high visibility roads policing operation was also run throughout the week.

This was aimed at disrupting travelling criminals and targeting speeding and dangerous drivers.

Officers set up roadside speed checks in various locations throughout the town and stopped and checked the speed of several hundred vehicles.

A number of motorists were spoken to about their driving, ten were sent warning letters about their driving and three were reported for driving offences. One vehicle was seized for having no insurance.

Four motorists were stopped and arrested for drink driving. All four were charged.

Officers using mobile speed detection guns and speed awareness signs also carried out a number of checks in problem locations.

Phase 3:
Throughout the week officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Team carried out extra patrols in hotspot areas at key times.

They visited and spoke to residents in the Hirst and North Seaton areas about what their problems and concerns are about where they live.

They gave crime prevention advice and ran crime safety events in the North Seaton area and the Asda store in Lintonville Terrace.

As a result of the extra patrols officers signed up more than 20 new residents to Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

Ashington Neighbourhood 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."