Drugs worth almost half a million pounds have been removed from Aberdeenshire streets in the last year, according to a new report.
Police Scotland seized more than £450,520 of drugs across the region, between April 2017 and March 2018, and carried out 191 drug search warrants as part of a crackdown on English-based organised crime groups.
Officers have carried out more than 191 drug search warrants in the 12-month reporting period.
During this time they seized 1.7kg of cocaine worth £126,200, 1.6kg of heroin worth £103,800, 35.3kg of cannabis amounting to £215,000 and 552g of amphetamine with a street value of £5,520.
A report, to be presented by head of the north-east division, Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson, said: “The north west of England remains the primary source of supply for drugs into Scotland, followed by London.
“This is evident within Aberdeenshire and particularly the Banff and Buchan areas where it is believed a number of English-based organised crime groups are operating.
“The use of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis remain the most prevalent drugs of choice within Aberdeenshire, which is reflected in the sizeable seizures of these commodities.”
There is an “emerging risk” from large scale cannabis cultivations, according to the report, and in recent months police have uncovered “a number” of remote or rural locations where rented properties have been used to grow cannabis.
The number of detections for drug supply, drugs production and drugs cultivation across Aberdeenshire has risen by 33.8% to 145 crimes and the number of possession cases has also risen sharply, by nearly 64%.
The annual figures also show that during 2017-18 the total number of people killed in crashes across Aberdeenshire halved from 14 to seven – a 37% reduction. There were also 90 people seriously injured on the region’s 6,560 miles of road in the 12-month period.
However, in his report, Mr Thomson said while there were fewer deaths or serious injuries on the roads, “recent tragedies” show the need for the issue to remain a “top priority” across the north-east.
Meanwhile, there has been a small increase in the number of people reporting sexual crimes compared to 2016-17 – from 485 crimes to 516.
The report states this is, in part, due to the work of “highly skilled” detectives engaging with victims of sexual crime.
It adds: “A significant number of group 2 crime, those with a sexual element, involve the inappropriate use of the internet, including social media and different platforms.
“This is especially relevant to children and young people, many of whom have a lack of awareness to the risks associated with, for example, sharing intimate photographs of themselves or others online.”
Serious assaults are down by 17% – from 106 crimes in 2016-17 to 88 in the past year – and detection rates remain high at 92% which is 14% higher than the force average.
Mr Thomson will present the report to members of Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee on Thursday.