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Eight arrested in county lines drug operation

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Two men have been charged with multiple counts of drug supply in connection with an investigation into a county lines network.

The charges follow an operation carried out in the Snow Hill area of Bath on Tuesday 15 November, and as Avon and Somerset Police once again take part in Operation Scorpion and join other law enforcement agencies and partner organisations across the South West in disrupting and dismantling drug supply networks.

Officers arrested eight people during the operation, including two teenagers, and seized numerous weapons, cash and drugs.

Aaron Gardiner, 20, of Harlech Close, Keynsham, has been charged with three counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, namely heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine. He was also charged with one count of possession of criminal property.

Gardiner pleaded guilty to all four counts during a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Thursday 17 November), and he was remanded in custody until he is sentenced at Bristol Crown Court on Thursday 15 December.

A second person, a 22-year-old man, also appeared at the same court yesterday, charged with eight offences including three counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, namely heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine, one count of possession of an offensive weapon and two counts relating to modern slavery offences. He didn’t enter a plea and was remanded in custody to next appear at Bristol Crown Court on Friday 16 December.

Two other men, a woman and two teenage boys, were arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs. The adults were released under investigation, while the teenagers were released on bail.

The eighth person, a man, was arrested on suspicion of trafficking a child.

The operation was jointly run by the force’s Operation Remedy County Lines team, the Bath Neighbourhood Policing Team and Operation Scorpion.

DI Angela Burtonwood said: “This is part of a country line investigation led by the dedicated team and in partnership with our neighbourhood and Op Scorpion partners.

“Warrants were obtained following information received from members of the public, which are vital in operations like this.

“County lines exploit both young and vulnerable people in the community. The seizures made during these warrants have significant impact and help keep the public safe.”

As part of our ongoing investigation, officers continue to ensure all safeguarding measures are taken.

The neighbourhood policing team are conducting reassurance patrols in the local area and members of the public are encouraged to speak to officers.