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Norfolk near top in UK for police seizures of crack and heroin

PUBLISHED: 06:00 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:25 12 January 2020

Police enter a property on the Aylsham Road during an Operation Gravity drugs raid. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police enter a property on the Aylsham Road during an Operation Gravity drugs raid. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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The number of danger-drug seizures in Norfolk is at its highest level in four years after rising dramatically in the last year, figures reveal.

Data from the Home Office shows that drug seizures made by Norfolk Police rose by 35pc to 2,607 in 2018/19, compared with 1,936 in the previous year.

The increase of 671 is the fifth-highest among police forces in England and Wales, and is much greater than the national average of 12pc.

The number in Norfolk is still lower than the 3,284 seizures recorded in 2013/14, but is currently at a four-year high having risen in every year since 2016/17.

Police operations to disrupt county lines drug dealing have played their part in the recent rise, with several hundred arrests made since Operation Gravity was launched three years ago.

As of last April, more drug dealers from London had been identified in Norfolk than in any other county in the country.

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Class A drugs made up more than one-fifth of those seized in the county, with cocaine the most common found by police.

Cannabis was the most common overall, with the class B substance being seized on 1,936 occasions in 2018/19.

Norfolk was also in the top three in terms of seizures per million population for crack, methadone and morphine, and saw the highest number or seizures in England outside of London for the latter.

The county also ranked fourth in the country for heroin.

Chief Superintendent Dave Marshall said: "The increase in drug seizures in Norfolk is a direct result of the proactive work officers have carried out to tackle county lines drug dealing under Operation Gravity.

"The seizure of drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin not only disrupts criminal groups, but it also protects the most vulnerable members of our community from the violence and exploitation associated with it.

"However, the seizure of drugs is only one piece of the jigsaw and it is important that the police and partner agencies continue to work holistically to ensure those vulnerable members of the community, such as drug users, are informed and have a choice to access support services to seek help they need either before or after drug supply lines are removed."

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