20 Norfolk heroin and crack supply networks smashed

PUBLISHED: 13:22 02 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:10 02 June 2020

This could be your door next. Norfolk police warn drug dealers in Norwich as they raid a property in Heathgate,  as part of Operation Gravity. Picture: Archant

This could be your door next. Norfolk police warn drug dealers in Norwich as they raid a property in Heathgate, as part of Operation Gravity. Picture: Archant


Twenty deadly drug supply lines to Norfolk have been cut and numerous dealers arrested and jailed in a unique operation between the county and Met Police experts.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick. Picture: MET POLICEMet Commissioner Cressida Dick. Picture: MET POLICE

Eight people - including five from London - have being given a total of 28 years and three months in jail as Operation Orochi smashed many of the London to Norfolk networks.

Norfolk’s success in closing down 20 County Lines networks has been praised by the head of the Metropolitan Police as she talked about the huge effort to tackle heroin and crack cocaine dealing.

At the end of 2019, officers from Norfolk Police joined forces with the Met in an operation targeting the controllers of County Lines operating between London and Norfolk, and shutting them down at their source.

MORE: Specialist police team have made more than 500 arrests in first year

Chief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve AdamsChief Constable Simon Bailey. Photo : Steve Adams

To date Operation Orochi, which focuses on analysing the data of mobile phones used to buy and sell crack cocaine and heroin, has resulted in 20 being shut down in Norfolk and 25 people being charged and remanded for drug supply offences.

Cressida Dick, commissioner of the Met Police, praised the “really hard work” being carried out by forces across the country, including Norfolk, adding: “I would like to call out my chief constable colleague Simon Bailey.”

Speaking at a briefing held in the capital on Tuesday (June 2) she said there was an undeniable link between drugs and violence, describing county lines drug dealing as “abhorrent”.

As part of Operation Orochi officers from the team in Norfolk have shared intelligence with a dedicated team at the Met, which will then investigate to identify the line controller and their location.

Wayne Mann was sentenced to four years and two months. Picture: Norfolk ConstabularyWayne Mann was sentenced to four years and two months. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Det Insp Robin Windsor-Waite, from Norfolk police, said: “Together our officers build a compelling evidential case before making any arrests. We’re being supported by the Crown Prosecution Service to help ensure that we are in a position to charge and remand the line controller on the day of arrest.

“This adds huge impact and prevents the line controller passing on the line to someone else.

“Once we’re happy with the evidence, our Norfolk team is deployed to London to join the Met team to make the arrest. The line controllers are then brought to Norfolk custody centres and charged to court.”

Eight of those charged have already been sentenced. They are:

Kieron Hunter. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARYKieron Hunter. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

• Matthew Mills, 33, from London – six years and nine months imprisonment

• Zoe Gloyn, 28, Kent – two years and eight months

• Ashley Davies, 29, Kent – two years

• Calum Ascione, 25, London – two years and two months

Sean Lutkin and Bradley Chambers. Photo: Norfolk PoliceSean Lutkin and Bradley Chambers. Photo: Norfolk Police

• Sean Lutkin, 29, London – two years

• Bradley Chambers, 26, London – three years

• Wayne Mann, 35, London – four years and two months

• Kieron Hunter, 23, Norwich – five years and six months.

Callum Ascione. PIC: Norfolk Police.Callum Ascione. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Det Insp Windsor-Waite said the impact Operation Orochi had had on the supply of class A drugs in Norfolk had been “enormous”.

He said: “By working with a specialist team at the Met, we can share intelligence and fast-time investigations to shut down a County Line at its source. Once you have the right person, the rest of their drugs operation falls apart and in turn, we can help protect those young people these line holders exploit to run their operation, as well as those at risk from the violence associated with County Lines.

“As a result, we are seeing the number of County Lines operating in Norfolk falling as we have closed down high-risk lines with up to 300 customers.”

MORE: Families ‘living in fear’ call for extra security to keep out drug gangs

Simon Bailey, Norfolk’s chief constable said: “Our collaboration with the Metropolitan Police has enabled us to shut down a significant number of County Lines at their source with immediate results.

“This is the most successful County Lines operation to be run in Norfolk and is a game-changer in the way the force tackles the supply of Class A drugs in Norfolk – and the exploitation and violence associated with it.”

Lorne Green, Norfolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “Norfolk Constabulary’s fight against County Lines and those who would seek to exploit the vulnerable for their evil ends is a relentless battle. This Operation however, demonstrates the great things that can be and are being done to shut down these lines and bring their ringleaders to justice, the Norfolk community has good and manifold reasons to be proud of its dedicated and professional police force.”

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press