Plymouth flats raided in dramatic scenes

Two properties raided by police in Devonport. Operation Scorpion was joined by Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell.
-Credit: (Image: Devon and Cornwall Police)


Police in Devonport took action to target properties which had been causing trouble to neighbours due to suspected drug use.

On the morning of Thursday June 13, officers executed warrants on two flats in Devonport, Plymouth, responding to reports of noise, violence and antisocial behaviour in the block.

The briefing with officers from Devonport police station and Charles Cross police station started with intelligence received from members of the public. Local knowledge from officers who were familiar with the location was discussed and a floor plan of the flat and expected condition of the rooms were shared - as well as the expected presence of a dog.

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Speaking to the team at the briefing, Devonport sector inspector, Insp Paul Laity, emphasised the importance of the information received from the residents of the flats, saying that more than anything the warrant was about giving residents "some respite from the behaviour they have endured".

Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell accompanied Insp Laity and his teams to the warrants. While some officers took up positions at the side of the property - in case anything was hurled from the windows of the flats being targeted - and at the rear of the building in case anyone attempted to flee the scene before being questioned.

Two properties raided by police in Devonport. Operation Scorpion was joined by Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell (here with Insp Paul Laity)
Two properties raided by police in Devonport. Operation Scorpion was joined by Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell (here with Insp Paul Laity and officers from is team) -Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police

Officers from the Force Support Group wearing protective gear forced entry into the properties using electric saws and battering rams - often referred to as 'The Big Red Keys'. The occupants of the properties were quickly located and the areas searched.

A police spokesperson said that no "significant quantities of drugs were found and no arrests made" but that "paraphernalia associated with drug use was found".

Two properties raided by police in Devonport. Operation Scorpion was joined by Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell
Officers from the Force Support Group helped force entry -Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police

Insp Laity said: "We will be working in partnership with colleagues from the Local Authority and the housing association to apply for a closure order on the premises under ASB legislation".

As the Chief Constable and Insp Laity left the flats, a number of residents left their properties to talk to the officers, thanking them for attending and welcoming the police action.

Insp Laity added: "News of our presence will spread out like ripples and we will see a reduction in drug dealing and antisocial behaviour for some time. These warrants see a disruption effect longer and larger than on the day and at the addresses they are carried out at."

Chief Constable Colwell said: "With a combination of local disruption like today, working together with other forces and the Regional Organised Crime Unit, Devon & Cornwall Police remains completely committed to reducing the misery that the misuse of drugs brings to our communities and to bringing to justice those who would profit from the sale of illegal drugs at the expense of the safety and peace of mind of law abiding people."

Drugs paraphernalia found at the property
-Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police

Both the Chief Constable and the local Inspector stressed that these kinds of police operations relied heavily on the information given by the public.

Insp Laity said: "Please keep talking to the police and submitting the intelligence – no matter how small the piece of information seems, your information is helping us disrupt drug activity and antisocial behaviour."

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said: "People tell me they are sick of drug dealing in their communities and have had enough with the effect it has on crime and disorder, that’s why I worked with four other South West commissioners and our respective forces to launch Operation Scorpion two years ago.

"We want people to know that we are by their side, have listened and will be relentless in our focus on illegal drugs as we strive to build safer communities in which people can succeed and prosper."

Two properties raided by police in Devonport. Operation Scorpion was joined by Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell (here with Insp Paul Laity)
Two properties raided by police in Devonport. Operation Scorpion was joined by Devon and Cornwall Police's Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell (here with Insp Paul Laity) -Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police

If you have information about drug dealing or other activity where you live, please report it to Devon & Cornwall Police online at www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/intelligence or by calling 101. The information and identity of anyone reporting intelligence to Devon & Cornwall Police is protected, but if you aren't comfortable talking directly to police, you can report anything anonymously through the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at https://crimestoppers-uk.org

You can also report through the StreetSafe app for iPhone or Android https://www.police.uk/streetsafe

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