One arrested and large amount of cash, suspected drugs and imitation firearms seized as part of ‘prison crime’ day of action in London

A man has been arrested following joint operational work coordinated by the South East Regional Prisons Intelligence Team (SERPIT) involving Her Majesty’s Prisons and Probation Service’s (HMPPS) Serious and Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), and Metropolitan Police Service’s Prison Intelligence, Trident and local policing teams.

On Thursday (29/10) the police teams conducted multiple searches of properties across London after an intelligence led investigation which showed linked criminal activity to HMP’s Belmarsh, Highdown and Huntercombe.

Intelligence work was completed by SERPIT and HMPPS SOCU to identifying ongoing criminality and drugs supply in the community being orchestrated and supported by individuals within prisons, which led to the day of action. Search warrants were completed as well as another search in Brentford following an arrest.

During the warrants and searches across the properties police seized drugs, items prepared to be supplied into prisons, as well as two imitation firearms and around £18,000 in cash. A 27-year-old man was arrested at the scene of one of the searches on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs, money laundering and possession of firearms and has been released under investigation.

At the same time as the activity in the community, a prison cell search took place and contraband items were confiscated. The prisoner will also be moved out of the region.

“The operation was the result of joint working between SERPIT, HM Prison Services and the Metropolitan Police Service in planning the disruption of ongoing criminality in our community linked to those in prisons.

Whilst criminals are behind bars, some will continue to seek opportunities to commit further crimes or run criminal enterprises on the outside. The operation shows that we will relentlessly work with our partners in law enforcement to disrupt the ongoing criminality.

We know that as a result of this action we have recovered a large amount of drugs which were destined for the streets across London and the South East as well as for the prisons in the South East and London, which we know has a devastating impact on HMPPS’ ability to rehabilitate and keep those in prison safe. We have also put a significant dent in the running of this organised crime group’s finances.”

Detective Chief Inspector Claire Finlay, Head of SERPIT

“I echo Claire’s comments. These operations are the accumulation of months of joint working across a number of partners. By working closely together we are able to help protect the public from the ongoing threat of drugs, weapons and the associated violence.

HMPPS SOCU teams will continue to work hard to disrupt prisoners who are actively involved in Organised Crime, we will work with all our partners to achieve this.

The effect of drugs and the illicit economy in prisons cannot be underestimated, and the pressure put on prisoners and families in the community to pay debts can be immense, sometimes with very little resources available to them to help, placing immeasurable strain on family members.”

Mark Emmett Serious Organised Crime Lead (HMPPS) for London and the South East