ALMOST £3.5m worth of drugs have been seized from North-East streets over the last 12 months, including cocaine, cannabis, heroin, amphetamine and prescription drugs.

Drugs carrying a street value of £3,492,060 were removed from the hands of criminals during 2017 by Cleveland Police, who uncovered illicit operations across the force area.

Weapons including stun guns, firearms, CS gas canisters, knives and a crossbow were seized as part of searches for drugs in homes and businesses, with cash totalling £248,980 also being discovered by officers.

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Inspector Tony Cross, from Cleveland Police’s Community Drugs Enforcement Team, said: “Seizing almost £3.5million worth of drugs has meant that those drugs have not reached the streets of Cleveland, where they could potentially be of serious harm to members of the public.

“We will continue with this good work throughout 2018 and strive to reduce the supply of drugs in Cleveland, reduce associated antisocial behaviour and crime linked to drugs within our local communities and also reduce the criminal gains of offenders who are dealing drugs in our local communities.

“Drugs recoveries are largely down to intelligence-led policing, however, we are assisted greatly by the support and information that we receive from the members of the public.

“I’d like to thank those people who do come to us and voice their concerns about drugs activity in their local area and I would encourage those people to continue to do so.”

Cleveland Police’s work to disrupt drug-related activity began in January 2017, when a man was charged with producing a controlled drug after police raided an address on Norcliffe Street in Middlesbrough, seizing 235 cannabis plants with a street value of £129,000.

Adjoining properties were raided on Tankerville Street in Hartlepool in May, when 459 cannabis plants worth £251,000 were seized with two men aged 24 and 27 charged with producing a controlled drug.

In August, 713 cannabis plants worth £392,000 were recovered at an address on Henry Street in Redcar – a 27-year-old man was charged with producing a controlled drug.

In November, suspected heroin worth £200,000 and other drugs including suspected amphetamine, MDMA and cannabis were seized from addresses in Stockton and eight people were arrested and released under investigation.