Samurai sword and machete uncovered in drugs raids across Bedfordshire
A samurai sword and machete were uncovered during a series of police raids on suspected drugs sites across Bedfordshire.
On Thursday, March 18, officers raided a large unit on an industrial estate near Great Barford and found hundreds of cannabis plants worth tens of thousands of pounds. A car worth around £170,000 was also seized.
A man in his 60s was arrested at the scene on suspicion of cultivating cannabis and possessing an offensive weapon. He has since been released on police bail.
In the last few weeks, other large scale drugs operations have been found in Bedford, Meppershall, Tilsworth and Leighton Buzzard.
During the searches, large quantities of cash and both Class A and Class B drugs were seized, along with a machete and a samurai sword.
Beds Police says it has growing concerns that organised crime gangs are increasingly recruiting children into dealing cannabis.
It is believed that there are around 20 county drugs lines operating in Bedfordshire at any one time.
Since April 2020, police have disrupted a total of 19 county lines, which has resulted in 33 arrests. Around £130,000 in cash and £136,000 in cash value of Class A and B drugs have been seized.
Detective Chief Inspector Louisa Glynn said: “Organised criminal gangs use drugs as their main source of income, and growing and selling cannabis is a key part of this business model. It is relatively cheap to produce and there are thousands of customers in Bedfordshire alone to sell to.
“These gangs then deliberately exploit young and vulnerable people, and drive much of the violence and antisocial behaviour that blights our communities. Very few of these vulnerable people earn a great deal of money and they are merely exploited through their circumstances and fear of violence.
“These groups are commonly involved in the cultivation of cannabis and large factories for production. They are then using the returns to fund the supply of Class A drugs, and are involved in firearms trafficking, money laundering, modern slavery and human trafficking.
“Nearly all of our investigations into county lines have identified vulnerable or exploited children being used to run the drugs. This is why we have worked closely with our partners to launch a new campaign - Bedfordshire Against Violence and Exploitation (BAVEX) - which aims to shine a light on exploitation and raise awareness around things like modern slavery, cuckooing and criminal exploitation in the county.
“We are working tirelessly to crackdown on these crime types and will continue to make our county a hostile place for anyone looking to run drugs lines into our communities or exploit vulnerable people to further their criminal enterprise.”
Anyone with information about drug activity can contact police on 101 or via the Bedfordshire Police website here.
People can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.