West Lothian drug arrests thanks to communities

Police have stressed the vital importance of public information on local drug dealing, as new figures showed proactive operations were hitting the drug trade in West Lothian.

By Stuart Sommerville, LDR
Thursday, 16th September 2021, 2:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 16th September 2021, 2:26 pm
Police Scotland logo.
Police Scotland logo.

At recent local area committees, community sergeants have detailed arrests and disruption of cannabis farms in the county – including one farm worth an estimated £86,000.

But Sergeant Iain Wells stressed to a number of committees that the success of these operations relies on intelligence supplied by communities.

In the first quarter of the year (April to June) 39 Misuse of Drugs Warrants were obtained, with 35 Supply and Cultivation offences charged in West Lothian.

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This included the police receiving intelligence in relation to what they described as “a sophisticated cannabis cultivation within the county with an approximate value in excess of £86,000”.

“After investigation two people have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal for related offences,” said Sgt Wells.

And he urged councillors whose constituents complained to them about apparent drug dealing to direct them to contact the police.

“We continue to develop drugs intelligence from the local community. Drugs enforcement requires information from sources to build a picture and fill in the pieces of the jigsaw and the use of community intelligence in this cannot be underestimated. We need to know what is going on,” he said.

Comparing the figures for Drugs Supply, Production and Cultivation charges over five years there has been a 27 per cent drop.

Speaking to this month’s Services for the Community PDSP, the area police commander, Chief Inspector Alun Williams, also highlighted the work undertaken to disrupt the links between the drug trade and serious and organised crime.

He too reiterated the need for the public to contact police about drug concerns.

In his report he said: “Drugs supply has a close link to organised crime groups , and is a blight on any community. We act to target those who bring harm to our communities, and particularly those who are involved in drug supply, cultivation/production and Class A drugs. “

CI Williams added: “We recognise the national Drugs Deaths statistics and are committed to targeting drug dealers, whilst working in partnership within the WL Alcohol and Drugs Partnership.

“Officers will develop lines of investigation and other policing approaches are available, but as ever, we encourage and rely upon community intelligence, and encourage reporting direct to police by phone, on-line, in person, via remote reporting sites and / or anonymously through Crimestoppers (0800 555111).”