£200,000 worth of goods seized and 87 people charged as part of a huge crackdown on drugs across Northamptonshire

More than 70 drugs raids were carried out across Northants, London, Wolverhampton and Birmingham as police superintendent warns "we are coming for you"

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 9:45 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 9:46 am
A total of 70 raids were carried out across Northamptonshire as part of the operation

Operation Viper is Northamptonshire Police's operation to crack down on those involved in drug and gang related crime.

It tackles the supply of Class A drugs in Northamptonshire, focusing on organised crime groups, gangs, local drug lines, and County Lines - a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns using dedicated mobile phone lines.

Using intelligence-led tactics, including the execution of over 70 warrants in Northamptonshire, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and London, the operation has so far netted some fantastic results.

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A total of 105 individuals, aged between 15 - 55, have been arrested as part of Operation Viper since January 2019, 87 of which have been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, with 62 then remanded in custody.

Of the 105 arrested, 72 were from Northamptonshire, 25 were from London and eight were from the West Midlands.

Police officers have also recovered nearly £250,000 worth of goods including £25,000 worth of Class A drugs, designer goods worth in excess of £150,000, over £20,000 in cash and a Mercedes CLA Sport worth over £35,000.

Superintendent Chris Hillery said: “The success of Operation Viper makes me very proud to work for Northamptonshire Police - a force absolutely committed to tackling the supply of Class A drugs in our county.

“Through this operation, we have disrupted a huge number of drugs lines as well as arresting and charging a number of individuals we believe to be involved.

“Our aim of course is to dismantle all of the drugs lines in Northamptonshire and though we have seen some great results so far, Operation Viper is very much a live operation and our teams continue to work hard as part of it.”

As well as the arrests, charges and goods seized, Operation Viper has also focused on safeguarding the vulnerable people who are exploited by drugs lines and crime gangs. So far, a number of children have been supported, many of them having been used by those higher up the chain to deal drugs.

Superintendent Hillery continued: “A lot of people don’t realise that those at the top of drugs gangs and drugs lines rarely take any of the risks.

“Instead they use other people, including young children, exploiting them and putting them in danger in order to reap the rewards.

“We want to safeguard as many of these people as possible – many of them are children but a lot of them are also vulnerable adults, and Operation Viper is committed to getting them the support they need to break away from those who seek to control them.

“Our CIRV programme seeks to help people who want to break away from criminality and many of the people we have come into contact with through these warrants have gone on to successfully receive help from CIRV – the support is out there if you want to turn your back on offending.”

Currently, Operation Viper is conducting 31 separate investigations involving conspiracies to supply Class A drugs and is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Superintendent Hillery added: “This operation is all about making Northamptonshire a safer place to live, because that’s what the people who live here deserve.

“It is also about making it absolutely clear that we have a zero-tolerance approach to drugs in this county and that those who think that dealing them is acceptable will be brought to justice, regardless of whether they remain in Northamptonshire or not.

“The people we have arrested and charged so far didn’t think their criminality would catch up with them so my message to those drug dealers we haven’t caught yet is simple – we are coming for you.”