New figures revealing the extent of efforts to tackle drug dealing in the north-east have been released today.
In total, 205 people have been charged in connection with drug-related activity and 24 search warrants have been executed in the north-east.
Seven people have also been jailed for a total of 15 years following operations in Peterhead and Fraserburgh last October as part of Operation Corner.
The operation was a multi-agency initiative to disrupt Organised Crime Groups who target vulnerable people in their own homes to sell or store drugs.
Officers have also highlighted the recent seizures of significant quanities of drugs, including £60,000 worth of cannabis from a car on the A90, and £105,000 of amphetamine and heroin from a property in Finzean.
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Detective Chief Inspector Lorna Ferguson said: “The ultimate aim of Operation Corner was to focus on the activities of those involved in serious and organised crime at all levels, particularly those who were travelling to the north-east to exploit vulnerable people living in Peterhead and Fraserburgh for their own financial gain.
“‘Cuckooing’ or ‘county lines’ may not be new concepts but we were hearing from both communities that illegal drug activity was affecting their quality of life and increased activity was required to tackle this unwanted behaviour.
“We are committed to disrupting the activities of those involved in serious crime at all levels however the operation also focused on the vulnerable people who assist these groups on a day-to-day basis by giving them a local base from which to operate from.
“It has always been recognised that some of these individuals are willing to undertake these roles for their own personal gain, but it is also important to recognise that some of these individuals are the victims of exploitation.
“We have identified a number of people as victims of cuckooing with many of them requesting a referral to substance misuse services.
“Many people who refused help before were able to re-engage with the system, with others identified who were not known to us or our partners before.”
She added: “Tackling drug misuse is not just about the police putting doors in and executing warrants.
“While this is an important part of disrupting the supply, we must also address the wider issues that bring about drug abuse in the first place and we work with our partners to provide the ‘wrap around’ support to those who need and want it.
“The success of operations like Corner are only possible thanks to the support we receive from the public and we continue to urge anyone who has information about the supply of drugs to contact the police on 101 or via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”