Two appear in court after drugs raids in Lancaster and Morecambe

Police have arrested two people on drugs offences after early morning raids across Lancaster and Morecambe.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 12:22 pm
Police in Mayfield Road, Lancaster, on Monday during one of the drugs warrants.

The raids were part of a major new crime crackdown in Lancashire which launched on Monday.

Operation Vanquish will see police tackle the crime issues that matter most to our communities from drug dealing to burglary and anti-social behaviour as part of a drive to make the county safer.

It will involve a surge of police activity with dozens of officers swooping on different areas of the county in a bid to blitz crime and associated antisocial behaviour.

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Police in Mayfield Road, Lancaster, on Monday during one of the drugs warrants.

Operation Vanquish started on Monday with a series of drug warrants in Lancaster and Morecambe as well as in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.

As a result, three warrants were issued in Lancaster and Morecambe, resulting in two people being arrested on suspicion of drug offences.

Stuart Taggart, 40, of Mayfield Avenue, Lancaster, was charged with conspiracy to supply a class A controlled drug (cocaine), conspiracy to supply a class A controlled drug (heroin) and removing criminal property. He was due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday December 7.

Neil Howard, 61, of Clark Street, Morecambe, was charged with breach of bail conditions. He was due to appear at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

A 19-year-old man from Lancaster was also arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon and possession of cannabis. He was given an adult caution and community resolution.

More work is planned in the coming weeks including dozens more warrants, along with community engagement activity, traffic enforcement and crime prevention work, all designed to disrupt and deter criminal activity and keep the county’s people and communities safe.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Procter, who was out with officers overseeing the operation, said: “Operation Vanquish is designed to tackle the issues of most concern to our local communities by taking the fight to criminals.

“The operation will see local police officers, as well as specialist officers, carrying out a wide range of policing activity designed to deter and disrupt criminal activity and keep our communities safe.

“The vast majority of people living in Lancashire are law abiding citizens who do not deserve to have their lives disrupted by the actions of a minority of offenders.

“Thanks to Operation Vanquish, offenders have no place to hide. We have significantly raised the risk of them being caught and put behind bars.”

Det Insp Steven Hallam said: "Operation Vanquish is Lancashire Constabulary’s monthly initiative designed to tackle a variety of crime types utilising a range of surge activities across the county, the aim being to disrupt and deter criminal activity and keep our communities safe.

"Drug misuse is a complex multifaceted problem that presents on-going challenges to Lancashire Constabulary and its partners. The harm caused varies dependent upon type of drug but what is clear is that it has a significant negative impact on our communities and their families.

"As part of both Lancashire Constabulary's vision and the Police and Crime Commissioner's Police and Crime Plan, we have an ongoing commitment to reduce crime/anti-social behaviour, develop safe and confident communities and support our vulnerable victims.

"One key facet of this will be the continued proactive targeting of those involved in the supply of controlled drugs either through their direct involvement or facilitating this type of criminality.

"In Lancaster and Morecambe we have had a number of dedicated policing teams conducting warrants focused on drug dealing and organised crime group activity.

"So far we have done three warrants with persons arrested for drug related and proceeds of crime offences. Enquiries including searches are ongoing and the investigations will pursue all lines of enquiries into any criminal activity.

"We have neighbourhood policing teams in those target areas assisting in engaging and supporting the local community and obtaining further intelligence.

"We have further activity planned for the week utilising our specialist departments and local neighbourhood teams."

Operation Vanquish is ongoing. Anyone with any information which may assist offenders in their pledge to combat crime, can speak to a local officer or call Crimestoppers free and in confidence on 0800 555 111.