Wilby Parish Council

Serving the People of Wilby

The Horse Shoe

Clerk: Mrs Vicky Smith
18 Bakehouse Lane, Mears
Ashby, Northampton
Northamptonshire NN6 0ED

Tel: 01604 812239

Huge Police Operation Targets Criminal Network Exploiting County Children

Police have made a significant number of arrests during a massive operation to smash an organised crime group suspected of actively recruiting children in Northamptonshire to facilitate class A drug dealing.

More than 250 officers took part in Operation Serpent, a three-day intelligence-led operation during which police executed simultaneous warrants targeting multiple addresses in Kettering and north-west London.

The dealers are suspected of actively recruiting and grooming county children as street dealers and drugs mules.

A total of 18 people have so far been arrested with a number already brought before the courts and remanded in custody.

This week's activity was the culmination of an operation which first began in 2017 against the Kay Line group which, until this week, had posed the highest risk of any gang in the county.
Since they were first put under investigation in 2017, police have seized more than £80,000 in Class A drugs from the gang as well as £10,000 in cash.

The first day of enforcement activity, involving more than 100 Northamptonshire Police officers, assisted by the Met Police, took place on Tuesday in northwest London when five warrants were served in Hillingdon and Ealing.

Around £5,000 in cash as well as Class A and B drugs, knives and a corrosive substance were also seized as part of subsequent searches of the addresses.

Two men, aged 28 and 29 and one woman, aged 53, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, human trafficking and modern slavery offences.

On Wednesday, officers, supported by specialist dog handlers and search teams, struck at a number of addresses in Kettering with all eight target suspects arrested by officers.

And on day three, yesterday, warrants were executed at four more Kettering addresses and one in Thrapston, leading to the arrests of seven more people suspected of having links to the organised crime group.

Detective Inspector Steve Watkins who led the operation, which has been meticulously planned over more than 18 months, said: "This highly organised, London-based gang had formed a network of drug dealers and associates in Kettering which they were using to target and recruit young people to supply drugs on their behalf while holding them in servitude.

"I cannot understate enough the impact that our actions over the last three days have had on the lives of the people living in Kettering and, in particular, those who have been exploited by this criminal group. They have spread misery and caused significant harm to innumerable people.

"We have sent a loud and clear message to all those who would come to our county and try to cause us harm, and to anyone who would try and criminally exploit children in the future.
"I'm in no doubt this week's activity has significantly disrupted the supply of class A drugs in this county and that our communities are safer as a result."

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, head of operations at Northamptonshire Police, said: "This week's activity demonstrates this Force's ability to tackle and very significantly disrupt organised crime groups in this county and, crucially, safeguard vulnerable young people who fall prey to those peddling drugs.

"I'd like to thank everyone involved in this highly successful operation which sends out a clear message to those involved in drugs supply in this county.

"County Lines criminality remain a threat, but Operation Serpent sends out a very clear message to those involved in drugs supply that Northamptonshire Police: We will pursue you tirelessly and relentlessly."

Anyone with information about suspected drug dealing in their communities should contact Northamptonshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111.

The following people have been arrested and remanded as a result of Operation Serpent activity this week:

DAY ONE
Zayne Connell-Donaldson, aged 29, of Highfield Close, Hillingdon, London, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Sharon Donaldson, aged 53, of Highfield Close, Hillingdon, London, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell cocaine, conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation, possession of an offensive weapon, namely a pointed police-style baton and refusing to disclose a mobile phone password, by a notice issued under Section 49 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

James Atkinson, aged 28, of Lewis Close, Northolt, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

All the offences are alleged to have been committed between April 1, 2018 and June 25, 2019 and all four were remanded to appear before Northampton Crown Court on July 17.

DAY TWO
Matthew Hall, aged 39, of Gotch Road, Kettering, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Chris Foster, aged 39, of no fixed address, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Darren Caves, aged 42, of Hazelwood Court, Kettering, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Matthew Stevens, aged 19, of Charles Court, Kettering, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

Suraj Kumar, aged 45, of St John's Road, Kettering, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

Lester Booth, aged 19, of no fixed address, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

Leonard Booth, aged 24, of no fixed address, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

All the offences are alleged to have been committed between April 1, 2018 and June 25, 2019 and all were remanded to appear before Northampton Crown Court on July 17.

An eighth suspect, Julie Robinson, aged 58, of Tordoff Place, Kettering, was charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine, and will appear before Northampton Magistrates Court today (Friday, June 28).

Seven people arrested during police raids yesterday are also due to appear before Northampton Magistrates Court today charged with drugs and modern slavery offences.

Simon Mitchell, aged 29, of Gotch Road, Kettering is charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Roger Curtis, aged 43, of Durban Road, Kettering, is charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Richard Justice, aged 37, of Northumberland Road, Kettering, is charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin), conspiring to sell crack cocaine and conspiring to arrange or facilitate persons under 18 with a view to their exploitation.

Abigail Wyley, aged 31, of Harlow, Essex, is charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

Perry Norman, aged 38, of Treen Close, Thrapston, is charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

Charlene Ellis, aged 34, of Northumberland Road, Kettering, is charged with conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine

Sam Coleman, aged 21, is being produced from custody to face charges of conspiring to sell diamorphine (heroin) and conspiring to sell crack cocaine.

Message Sent By
Sarah Thomson (Police, Communications Officer, Countywide)

Posted: Fri, 28 Jun 2019 17:34 by Vicky Smith

Tags: Police Alert