Cocaine worth £23,000 and more than £17,000 in cash seized in County Lines crackdown

By Jessica Durston - 13 March 2023


Several drug networks were disrupted and thousands of pounds of cash and drugs seized across Wiltshire during a week-long operation targeting drug dealing.

From February 27 - March 5, officers from the Force’s Fortitude Team, as well as the Roads Policing Unit and neighbourhood policing teams, worked together to shut down cross county drug networks which use mobile phones to supply drugs from large cities to towns and rural areas.

Last week, known as County Lines Intensification Week, police teams in the county carried out warrants on properties in Swindon, Bradford on Avon and Devizes, and a total of 15 arrests were made on suspicion of drugs offences, all men over 18.

Officers also seized £5,700 worth of crack, £23,000 worth of cocaine and £17,325 in cash, as well as four weapons including an imitation firearm.

Steven Scoble, 37, of Quakers Road, Devizes, has pleaded guilty after being charged with possession with intent to supply Class A and Class B drugs following a raid in Devizes. He has been remanded in custody and is due to be sentenced on March 31.

Gabriel Rios, 22, of Bedford Road, Walcot, Swindon, has been charged with being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. He has been remanded in custody.

Thomas Melton Ruddock, 31, of no fixed abode, has been charged with possession with intent to supply a Class A drug, namely cocaine, and possessing, acquiring or using criminal property. He has been remanded in custody.

Officers also conducted 38 cuckoo and vulnerability checks, obtained one closure order, and performed 128 focused patrols of hotspots.

Det Supt Ben Mant said: “These are excellent results and mean that thousands of pounds worth of drugs have been removed from the market.

“We arrested 15 people and we have already successfully brought charges against three people, one of whom has pleaded guilty.

“We disrupt County Lines all throughout the year, however during County Lines Intensification Week in particular we work with our partners and other forces to target these organised networks which bring so much misery to our communities and prey on the most vulnerable members of society.

“It is my hope that the public are reassured by our ongoing efforts and the tireless work by officers and staff across the Force in tackling this type of organised criminality.

“Our work will always continue against the distribution of drugs in our county.

“However, we can’t be everywhere, and we need the public’s help to report any suspicious activity in their neighbourhood. I would urge anyone who suspects drug gangs operating in their area to contact us.”

Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said: “Drugs have a huge detrimental impact.

“From the exploitation of children and vulnerable people to gang culture, violent crime and associated anti-social behaviour, the ripples are felt in every corner of the county.

“I’ve been given a clear message by the people of Wiltshire that they want the drugs and the dealers off of our streets and together, we will make sure that happens.

“Successful operations like this will hammer home the message to County Lines gangs that Wiltshire isn’t a soft target when it comes to drugs and our work with neighbouring forces should make it clear that the entire region is no place for drugs.”

To report any illegal drug activity to the police or if an individual is aware of anyone who is being put in a vulnerable situation, contact can be made by calling 101.

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