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109 arrests and 65 vehicles seized by Norwich's Operation Moonshot team

PUBLISHED: 10:16 26 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:19 26 January 2019

A knife seized by the Operation Moonshot team. Photo: Police

A knife seized by the Operation Moonshot team. Photo: Police

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Norwich's Operation Moonshot team has made more than 100 arrests and seized 65 vehicles since its launch in November.

The vehicle was found with stolen fuel inside. Picture: Norwich PoliceThe vehicle was found with stolen fuel inside. Picture: Norwich Police

The mobile unit, which is made up of eight officers, focuses on disrupting organised crime groups as they enter or leave the city by road.

In just 42 shifts the team has recovered £11,000 worth of stolen property, made 109 arrests and seized everything from high-end vehicles to drugs and weapons.

Two Operation Moonshot teams are now active in Norfolk following a successful trial in the west of the county. The Moonshot City team has been operating in Norwich since November last year.

Supt Terry Lordan, from Norfolk police, said: “The team in the city is a 100pc proactive unit that uses technology and intelligence systems to target organised crime groups.

The pepper spray seized by the Moonshot City team. Photo: PoliceThe pepper spray seized by the Moonshot City team. Photo: Police

“Part of our strategic aim is to make Norwich a hostile environment for these criminals. This operation aims to disrupt and protect.”

The Moonshot City unit has access to police cars fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which allow them to spot vehicles of interest within seconds.

It is also supported by the roads policing team, and has access to dog units and drone technology.

Some of the team’s recent successes include:

Supt Terry Lordan (front, centre) and the Operation Moonshot team. Picture: Neil DidsburySupt Terry Lordan (front, centre) and the Operation Moonshot team. Picture: Neil Didsbury

• January 8, 2019: The team gave chase to a vehicle that failed to stop at Dereham Road in Norwich.

Once the car was pulled over, a search revealed containers filled with stolen fuel and cloned number plates.

Three men were arrested for failing to stop, fuel theft, cloning a vehicle and going equipped.

• January 19, 2019: The team spots an advert on the website Gumtree for pepper spray.

Officers from Operation Moonshot stop another driver in NorwichOfficers from Operation Moonshot stop another driver in Norwich

A vehicle was later stopped and a search revealed a canister or pepper spray, resulting in the driver’s arrest.

That led to a further search of the suspect’s home address, which uncovered more cans of pepper spray.

Operation Moonshot was launched in west Norfolk in April 2016 as a six-month pilot scheme under Norfolk Constabulary’s 2020 restructuring review.

As of May last year, the operation in the west of the county has resulted in more than £1m-worth of items being returned to victims.

A vehicle seized by the Moonshot team. Photo: PoliceA vehicle seized by the Moonshot team. Photo: Police

More than six-year’s worth of jail time was also handed out by the courts as a result of the operation.

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