Record-breaking blitz on local crime sees drug lines smashed, chop-shop discovered, and 60+ arrests

It was another record-breaking day for our monthly blitz on local crime as Operation Avro landed in Rochdale yesterday and saw over 60 arrests throughout an action-packed day of activity in the town.

The seventh edition of Op Avro brought together resources from across the Force in the latest example of our commitment to take the fight back to the criminals as part of a resurgent GMP.

By the end of the day of action on Thursday 28 April, we’d conducted 11 warrants, smashed almost a dozen drug lines, seized £500k’s worth of counterfeit items, issued nearly 200 traffic offences, discovered three large cannabis farms, and made a total of 63 arrests for a range of offences.

Our officers began the emphatic offensive on local criminality shortly after midnight and had made 19 arrests before dawn had even broken across Rochdale – including 10 suspected drug dealers who were taken to custody while our new county lines team stung 11 drugs lines operating in the town.

It was one of the first since the launch of our dedicated county lines team following the announcement earlier this month that the Home Office has named us as the fourth police force in the country to receive funding to target the county lines drug networks that are destroying lives, tearing apart communities, and exploiting young and vulnerable people.

As we dismantled the drug lines, we sent a stark and clear alert direct from the compromised phones to their thousands of customers that included the message: “your number has been identified as being in contact with a County line… and we have taken control of this line.”

Contact numbers offering help and advice for vulnerable people being forced to sell drugs – or those needing support for drug use – were also shared as part of the notice.

Relentless enforcement continued across the town throughout the day, with our traffic cops embarking on two roads policing operations that saw a total of 196 offences acted on – including 41 speeding offences – with five arrests made and a dozen vehicles seized.

Partners from Rochdale Council also joined us throughout the day; assisting us with licensing checks on local taxi firms, as well as weapon sweeps, meeting with local residents to discuss housing issues,   and joining us at local schools to discuss with students the impacts of knife crime.

We assisted colleagues at the Metrolink in patrolling the local network and engaging with 575 passengers to disrupt anti-social behaviour, enforce payment of tickets – with 57 penalty notices issued – and inspect the newly-introduced knife arch to prevent the possession of dangerous weapons.

A suspected chop-shop was also discovered by neighbourhood officers who found suspected stolen vehicles and parts inside of an industrial site as we continue to tackle the scourge of car thieves in GM.

Our custody sites remained a hive of activity as the day progressed with arrests being made late into the evening for offences such as domestic violence, robbery, burglary, hate crime and a series of 16 suspected shoplifting and frauds targeting elderly women in four of our boroughs that saw us arrested a woman in her 50s on the back of an appeal we made to the public the previous day.

The total of arrests stood at 63 by the conclusion of the 24-hour affront – beating the previous best of 54 boasted by our Oldham district last month (March 2022) – as our pledge to increase the number of suspects taken to custody to be brought into the criminal justice system continues.

The action taken by us as part of Operation Avro signals a token of momentum for our enhanced drive to tackle the town’s criminals and make Rochdale a safer place for our communities.

Operations and warrants executed throughout the day have been as a result of intelligence and concerns received from members of the public and we ask anyone with information or suspicions about activity in their local area to contact us with the knowledge that we will take robust action.

Information can be passed to us online – if able – via our LiveChat facility on our website, or by dialling 101. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Details can be passed to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

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