Police in Hartlepool recovered drugs worth over quarter of a million pounds yesterday during the third Operation Artemis
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Yesterday's operation saw a focus on Hartlepool, flooding the town with police activity.
Officers made 11 arrests, two cannabis farms worth almost £300,000 were dismantled, and class A drugs, cash and weapons - including an asp, CS spray and a Taser - were seized.
The day began with an early morning briefing at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre, followed by simultaneous raids at several addresses.
At a property in Dent Street two men, believed to be Vietnamese nationals, were found hiding in the premises, one of them behind a plaster board wall. Both were safeguarded as officers suspected that they may have been locked in the house for some time, in cramped and dirty conditions and were possibly victims of modern-day slavery.
60 cannabis plants and 90 saplings were discovered in the house thought to be worth around £200,000.
During a raid on a property in Mitchell Street officers uncovered a cannabis farm worth around £95,000, along with illegal weapons, a taser, CS spray and a police-style baton.
The Cleveland Police Specialist Operations Unit then carried out joint road safety checks with the DVSA (Driving Vehicle Standards Agency) on Burbank Street between 9am and 12.30pm.
42 vehicles were pulled over and examined, with two people arrested for drink and drug driving, one vehicle seized for having no tax, one vehicle seized for having no insurance, one fixed penalty notice for driving without a seatbelt.
Five motorists were provided with prohibition notices and instructed to have defects on their vehicles fixed, whilst another seven motorists were provided with words of advice for other minor defects.
Proactive patrols for off-road bikes in the Headland area were carried out by the Motorcyle Section.
Hartlepool CID carried out several planned arrests, during which a juvenile was arrested on suspicion of witness intimidation and a man arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.
The Sex Offenders Management Unit carried out visits to two registered sex offenders suspected of breaching Sexual Harm Prevention Orders and five devices were seized. Both men will be interviewed under caution.
There was also a focus on partnership working throughout the day, with Hartlepool Council Trading Standards carrying out warrants at several commercial premises throughout the day.
In total, they recovered 24 packets of illegal tobacco, 89 pouches of hand rolling tobacco, 492 non-compliant vapes, which collectively worth more than £6,500.
Officers also visited the RNLI Boathouse in Hartlepool where they received water safety training.
PC Geoff Coggin visited St Joseph’s Primary School to talk to the children about antisocial behaviour in the morning, whilst there was a visit from the Dogs Unit to Barnard Grove Primary school in the afternoon.
Crimestoppers vans were out across the town throughout the day, to promote ways to contact the independent charity with information and intelligence about crime in the town anonymously.
Superintendent Martin Hopps said: “The operation is multi-faceted and designed to reassure the public of the work carried out by police every day.
“It pools all of our resources together to show the impact we can have on the community, executing warrants and carrying out arrests, and essentially showcasing what we do.
“We’re sending out the message to the public that we are here, we are listening to concerns and will respond to the issues they raise with us.”
Anyone who wishes to report crime or provide information and intelligence to police can call 101 or report online by visiting www.cleveland.police.uk, or alternatively you can provide this information anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or call free on 0800 555 111.