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Crime

Modern slavery operation leads to 3 arrests in Horley

The operation, which was called a ‘success’, also resulted in the seizure of suspected stolen vehicles and being able to reunite a dog, also believed to have been stolen, with its owner.

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Three people were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery offences on Monday (14 May) following a multi-agency operation at an address in Shipley Bridge, Horley.

The two men and a woman were also arrested on suspicion of fraud offences and being in possession of a stolen car, a caravan and a dog as a result of the initiative, known as Operation Memory.

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30 Surrey Police officers were involved in the operation which took place in cooperation with Tandridge District Council, Surrey Trading Standards and Surrey Fire and Rescue Service.

The clampdown focussed on establishing whether exploitation through slavery, poor living conditions or low and non-existent wages was taking place.

Enquiries remain ongoing to establish whether anyone at the address is a victim of exploitation.
The three people who were arrested have been interviewed and released under investigation, pending further enquiries. The suspected stolen vehicles have been seized, while the dog has been returned to its rightful owner.

Neighbourhood Detective Inspector Jackie Elkins said:

“The warrant was carried out following information that occupants were involved in criminal activity and that other occupants at the address were being exploited. Our investigation remains ongoing to establish whether any modern slavery offences have taken place.

“The operation was a success, resulting in three arrests, the seizure of suspected stolen vehicles, as well as being able to reunite a dog, also believed to have been stolen, with its owner.

“Modern slavery is a threat and is an offence that is happening around us in our local communities. This operation proves that protecting the vulnerable and exploited victims of this horrific crime and pursuing those who commit it is something we take extremely seriously.

“I urge anyone who has any concerns about activity relating to individuals being forced to work against their will for low or no wages, or being controlled or mistreated, to report it to us.”

Anyone with concerns about individuals who may be involved are urged to call us on 101 (999 in an emergency) or go to https://surrey.police.uk/advice/protect-yourself-and-others/human-trafficking/

Alternatively, suspicions can be raised anonymously through independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you think you are a victim of modern slavery please seek help. The Modern Slavery Helpline can assist you to understand what help is available including information, advice and ways to access support. The helpline is confidential and you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to. For more information, visit https://www.modernslaveryhelpline.org/ or call 08000 121 700

The Salvation Army can also help. Call their 24 hour helpline on 0300 3038151 or visit www.salvationarmy.org.uk/human-trafficking

Crime

Two jailed after attempt to smuggle 8.5kgs of cocaine through Gatwick

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK”, says Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South.

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The drugs, which had been wrapped in plastic and hidden inside boxes marked ‘rum’, weighed approximately 8.5kgs.

Two men from Barbados are facing a total of 13 years in jail after pleading guilty to attempting to smuggle an estimated 8.5kgs of cocaine into the UK.

On 1 September, Border Force officers stopped 62-year-old Grantley Herbert Thompson, and 30-year-old Jamal Ricardo Walcott, in the customs channels at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal. Both had arrived on a flight from Barbados.

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During a search of their baggage officers discovered a white powder, wrapped in green plastic, and hidden inside boxes marked rum. The powder was subsequently tested and gave a positive reaction to the field test for cocaine. The cocaine had an estimated street value of £535,000.

Chris Capel, Assistant Director of Border Force South said:

“This was a deliberate, if unsophisticated attempt to smuggle dangerous Class A drugs into the UK and I commend the Border Force officers whose work ensured that Thompson and Walcott are now behind bars.

“Illegal drugs have a significant impact on our society, being the root cause behind countless burglaries, thefts and robberies. They are also used as a commodity by organised criminals linked to violence and exploitation of the vulnerable.

“We continue to work with our colleagues from the National Crime Agency (NCA) to do all we can to stamp out this despicable trade and bring those responsible to justice.”

The case was referred to the NCA and Thompson and Walcott were charged with importation of a class A drug.

62-year-old Grantley Thompson.

On Thursday, 11 October the pair appeared at Croydon Crown Court where they admitted the smuggling attempt. Both were sentenced to six years and six months imprisonment immediately.

30-year-old Jamal Walcott.

The Government’s Serious Violence Strategy, which was launched in April, aims to combat the devastating impact drugs have on levels of serious violence.

It also highlights a strong link between drugs and serious violence and the related harm and exploitation from county lines. The Government has set out the action it will take to tackle this violent and exploitative criminal activity. The action of Border Force to stop drugs before they get into the country forms a key part of this work.

Border Force officers use hi-tech search equipment to combat immigration crime and detect banned and restricted goods that smugglers attempt to bring into the country.

Nationally, they use an array of search techniques including sniffer dogs, carbon dioxide detectors, heartbeat monitors and scanners – as well as visual searches – to find well-hidden stowaways, illegal drugs, firearms and tobacco which would otherwise end up causing harm to local people, businesses and communities.

Anyone with information about activity they suspect may be linked to smuggling should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or go to https://www.gov.uk/report-smuggling

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