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Organised Crime Arrest in Burpham As Part of Drugs & Firearms Investigation

Published on: 23 Aug, 2022
Updated on: 24 Aug, 2022

The Home Secretary Priti Patel was present to witness the operation. Part of a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation Operation Venetic – the NCA-led UK response to the takedown of encrypted comms platform EncroChat in 2020.

A second suspect, aged 40, of Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, was arrested in a simultaneous raid, on suspicion of conspiring to import class A drugs, supplying class A and B drugs, possession of a prohibited weapon, conspiring to sell ammunition and money laundering.

The properties at Burpham and Waltham Cross were both searched as well as a third property in Walthamstow, north east London. The men remain in custody for questioning.

It is believed the organised crime group has international links to offenders involved in high level crime.

A nearby resident who witnessed the events said: “There was little to see other than a large number of people – police, home office staff, and dogs appearing at 5.40am and Priti Patel wandering around doing interviews.

“I didn’t see any arrest. As far as I can see, the search of the property is ongoing [as at 3.30pm] as there are some NCA cars still remaining,

Dean Wallbank, NCA senior investigating officer, said: “There are undeniable levels of violence and exploitation linked to illegal drugs and firearms in the UK.

“Both threats are priorities for the National Crime Agency and we work with partners at home and abroad to combat them.

“We believe the two arrested men were part of an organised crime group importing multi kilo consignments of class A drugs and firearms into the country.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Illegal drugs devastate lives, destroy our communities and cost society billions.

“Gangs exploit the most vulnerable people to run their grubby trade, all to line their own greedy pockets.

“We will not allow this to continue. That is why, working with policing partners, we have ensured more than 2,400 County Lines have been shut down since November 2019, more than 8,000 arrests have been made and more than 9,500 people have been supported to get the help they need.

“Through the policies and Drugs Strategy which I have led, we are investing over £3 billion to combat drugs, helping to stamp out drugs supply, target criminal drug operatives at home and abroad, address drug addiction in our communities and make our streets safer.”

Angela Richardson MP

Guildford’s MP, Angela Richardson, commented:“I welcome news of the National Crime Agency, joined by the Home Secretary, arresting an individual at a property in Burpham this morning as part of Operation Venetic.

“Illegal drugs and weapons have no place in our country. They have a negative impact on our communities and residents, and their trade often exploits the most vulnerable in our society.

”I am sure people across Guildford would like to join me in thanking the officers who took part in today’s operation.

”I will continue to support our police service in making Guildford and our country a safer place for all.”

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test 3 Responses to Organised Crime Arrest in Burpham As Part of Drugs & Firearms Investigation

  1. Howard Moss Reply

    August 24, 2022 at 8:54 am

    Probably not a good idea to stand with your hands behind your back when the press photo is taken, or you might look like the suspect!

  2. Peta Malthouse Reply

    August 24, 2022 at 1:41 pm

    No, it was okay she had a jacket with “Home Secretary” on it, so they wouldn’t have made a mistake.

    Well done NCA and our local police.

    However, with the backlog of cases in the Crown Courts it will be a long time before we know whether the suspects are guilty as charged.

    Editor’s note: We checked with Surrey Police and the NCA. Neither indicated that there was any involvement of Surrey Police in the operation.

  3. George Potter Reply

    August 29, 2022 at 2:33 pm

    It came as a surprise to hear about a National Crime Agency raid in Burpham, but it is very welcome to see the authorities are tackling organised crime and the harm it causes.

    It was a little disappointing to see the Home Secretary in attendance for publicity purposes, as I’m sure there are more useful activities for a minister of the crown to be undertaking, and she’s certainly been present at enough raids by now, but that shouldn’t detract from the good work being done by Operation Venetic.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham and a Surrey county councillor for Guildford East.

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