Drug offences fall by 20 per cent

A cannabis factory in Lancaster Road, Kettering
A cannabis factory in Lancaster Road, Kettering

The number of drugs offences across the county has dropped by more than 20 per cent in the past couple of months.

The latest crime figures released by Northamptonshire Police show there were 263 offences in April to May of this year compared with 331 in April to May in 2011.

The number of drugs offences fell by more than 51 per cent in Corby from 64 to 31, by nearly 28 per cent in Kettering from 36 to 26 and by nearly 29 per cent from 52 to 37 in Wellingborough.

During the same period East Northamptonshire saw its figures rise by 52 per cent from 21 to 32.

East Northamptonshire sector commander Insp Vaughan Clarke put the rise in figures in his area down to proactive policing, citing the discovery by officers of a cannabis factory in Rushden in May as one example of this.

Inspector Clarke said: “I’ve got a very proactive team tackling serious acquisitive crime which executes a lot of drugs warrants and that accounts for much of the increase, rather than that there has been an increase in drug supply.

“At the end of May our officers visited a home in Rushden for a routine inquiry and as soon as they arrived it became apparent the property was being used as a cannabis factory.

“And, for example, if we stop someone leaving a pub for causing trouble and then we find drugs on them it’s booked on as a drugs offence.”

The cannabis factory in Moor Road, Rushden, contained nearly 200 plants spread across three rooms and forensic investigators spent a day collecting evidence from the house.

There were also other high profile successes for the force in April and May.

At the end of April dozens of officers were involved in a massive police operation targeting cocaine dealers which involved dawn raids on properties in Whitney Road, Burton Latimer, Westfields Road and Main Road, Corby, and Manor Road, Earls Barton.

The raids resulted in the seizure of quantities of high purity cocaine, a firearm and three vehicles and several people were arrested.

The operation was linked with similar raids in Cambridgeshire and Hampshire.

At the beginning of May a factory containing 2,000 plants with an estimated value of £700,000 was also discovered in Lancaster Road, Kettering.

Officers broke through 8ft gates hiding the factory from the residential street and found four rooms of plants in various stages of growth along with a ventilation system, heat lamps, lights and fans.

More high profile drugs raids have since taken place across Kettering and Wellingborough at the end of June when more than 80 officers swooped on 17 homes of suspected criminals. The force said the operation had been carried out in response to a recent increase in crime across Kettering.

Officers seized about £12,000 in cash and what was believed to be a firearm and 91 rounds of prohibited ammunition in Kettering and several people were arrested.

Kettering and Corby district commander Chief Inspector Chris Hillery said: “In recent years we’ve had a concerted push to tackle those people who are involved in drugs, both the supply and usage.

“We thrive on the intelligence we receive from people about drug usage and this assists us in building a picture of what is going on in our communities enabling us to respond appropriately. An example of this is the high impact day that took place in Kettering and Wellingborough at the end of June, where a number of people were arrested for drug-related offences.

“We also work closely with other agencies to help prevent people from becoming involved in drugs in the first place as well as supporting education programmes.

“We’re determined to make life as uncomfortable as possible for people involved in the world of drugs. I’d urge anyone with information about drug offences to contact us on 101.”