Greater Manchester Police illegal drug seizures highest in a decade

Greater Manchester Police recorded more than 10,600 seizures of illegal drugs last year – the highest figure in a decade, according to new Home Office data.

This represents a 36% increase from the previous year, which saw 7,829 drug seizures.

Class A drugs accounted for 15% of all substances found. Powdered cocaine was by far the most commonly confiscated ‘hard’ drug, representing two thirds of all class A seizures. Heroin and crack cocaine each accounted for 16%.

While it remains unclear whether this increase in seizures reflects a higher volume of drugs in circulation, Greater Manchester Police say some seizures are due to ongoing operations against organised crime, while others may be smaller quantities discovered during a Stop and Search.

Police stress that the drug trade fuels violence, both in Greater Manchester and further up the supply chain. For example, the bust of a smuggling ring last month uncovered nunchucks, knives, and rifles, as well as cash and illicit drugs.

Detective Inspector James Coles from GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group, who was involved in the operation said: “We’re alive to the methods criminals are using to import drugs and illegal commodities to the UK and we will endeavour to stay one step ahead of those exploiting this market.

“By disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking groups, we’re able to prevent the associated violence and deprivation that is inextricably linked to this trade, protecting our communities from intimidation and harm.”

Neighbourhood policing teams are also often responsible for major seizures – earlier this month police discovered three cannabis farms in Leigh, seizing more than 140 plants.

Sergeant Shane Prescott, from GMP’s Leigh Neighbourhood Team said: “What many people don’t see is the harm that drugs cause – the fights between criminals, the unsafe products used, and the addictions that can start. We will ensure we robustly deal with the people who put drugs into our communities.”

Cannabis confiscations accounted for over three quarters of all seizures made by Greater Manchester Police last year. Nearly 8,000 seizures were made, including 18,400 plants and 250kg of herbal cannabis.

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

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