Hundreds of police officers took part in one of the biggest Met sting operations this year targeting the possession and supply of guns and drugs across London in the early hours of this morning.
Seven people were arrested at the scene in Star Lane, Orpington after targeted raids which started as a result of work carried out by the local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).
The officers launched an operation which led them to identify a series of crimes believed to be carried out by suspects linked to Star Lane.
Due to the serious and organised nature of the criminality believed to have been committed, specialist officers from across the Met were drafted in to support – including officers from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command, and Territorial Support Group.
Over the course of several months, a package of evidence was developed around the suspects at the centre of the investigation, and this morning’s activity is the culmination of those many months of work.
At approximately 2.45am hundreds of officers in more than 30 vehicles carried out a number of search warrants at the site.
The operation involved highly trained Counter Terrorism Specialist Firearms Officers (CTSFOs), teams from the Territorial Support Group, Dog Support Unit and specialist search officers. Dozens of officers from the local Basic Command Unit were also deployed.
Due to intelligence suggesting the presence of firearms on the grounds, a number of distraction techniques were used to enter the site and detain the suspects.
Officers were expected to be on site for at least two days carrying out thorough searches, due to the size of the site and intelligence around where firearms may be stored.
Seven people have so far been arrested for offences including possession with intent to supply drugs, handling stolen goods and burglary.
Two people found at the site are being supported by the Met’s Modern Slavery Team. So far a total of 17 dogs have been seized from the site.
Commander Kyle Gordon, the Gold Commander for the operation, said: “Tackling violent crime remains the Met’s top priority and our efforts to prevent serious harm and loss of life on the streets of London have not wavered, including over the last few challenging months.
“This operation clearly demonstrates that every officer – from local neighbourhood teams all the way up to our specialist crime investigators – is focused on bringing those responsible for violence and organised criminality on the streets of London to justice, to keep our communities safe.
“This case was led by local neighbourhood officers in response to local issues, and its success would not have been possible without the support of partners and communities.
“This operation has targeted serious and organised crime head on, and will mean the surrounding communities are now safer for those living within them.
“Over recent months we have seen an increase in the number of firearms incidents across London and proactive operations like this are crucial to removing the availability of weapons and drugs on the streets.”
Superintendent Andy Brittain, from the South Area BCU, added: “We’ve been listening to the concerns of the local community and I hope that today’s activity shows how seriously we take your concerns and that we do act upon them.
“This is a prime example of why we rely on intelligence and information so much from our communities. It helps us keep your streets safe.
“Local residents may see an enhanced police presence over the next few days and possibly some road closures whilst we carry out or searches.
“We are working with the local authorities to look after the safeguarding of residents and children that may be temporarily displaced whilst we do these searches.”
A Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) (London) spokeswoman said: “By working in partnership, sharing intelligence lawfully and efficiently, the GAIN aims to ensure that government agencies along with law enforcement will help reduce the risk, threat and harm from serious and organised crime, in the most cost effective way.
“Operation Medusa has involved months of collaborative hard work by GAIN who are dedicated to dismantling crime networks. Today’s executive action is an excellent example of adopting a multi-agency approach”
Anyone with information on crimes in the community should call 101, tweet @MetCC or report it online via the Met website here.
For serious crimes, or in an emergency always call 999.
Alternatively, to remain anonymous, contact the charity Crimestoppers on freephone 0800 555 111 or fill in their simple and secure anonymous online form here.
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