Published: 18:43, 11 September 2020
| Updated: 18:45, 11 September 2020
Police have charged two people with drug and firearm offences following a huge raid on a traveller site.
Hundreds of Met Police officers stormed the Star Lane complex in Orpington in the early hours of Wednesday in what Scotland Yard has described as one of its biggest armed operations of the year.
Seven people have so far been arrested on suspicion of an array of offences after police discovered drugs, stolen vehicles and an arsenal of weapons including a loaded shotgun, 17 air weapons, CS gas and a machete.
A 27-year-old man arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs and possession of ammunition has now been charged with possession of cannabis, and has been released under investigation for the alleged ammunition offence.
A 30-year-old man arrested on suspicion of burglary has been bailed, while also being charged with being a prohibited person in possession of an air weapon.
No further action will be taken against a 59-year-old man arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods, while four other people have been bailed until October following their arrest on on suspicion of handling stolen goods, possession of criminal property and possession of prohibited ammunition.
Commander Kyle Gordon, the gold commander for the operation, said: "We have already found a number of weapons and other items of interest following this significant operation, and our searches at the site will continue.
"A firearm seized by police represents a weapon that is not in the hands of someone who might use it to harm others, and commit crime.
"Every officer across the Met - from local neighbourhoods teams all the way up to our specialist crime investigators - is focused on bringing those responsible for violence on the streets to justice, to keep our communities safe."
The huge operation began at around 2.45am on Wednesday when hundreds of officers in more than 30 vehicles swooped on the site .
Neighbours reported being awoken by a series of four or five loud bangs as police - including counter-terrorism firearms officers, teams from the Territorial Support Group and a dog support unit - began the raid by setting off distraction devices.
The six men and one woman arrested during the operation range in age from 19 to 59.
"It's really important for dog owners to microchip their dogs..."
Two people found during the search of the sprawling site are being supported by the Met Police modern slavery team.
Officers have also recovered scores of dogs, some of which have since been confirmed as stolen.
One of the dogs has since been reunited with its owner after being missing for six months, however it is proving harder to locate other owners as many of the pups are not microchipped.
Insp Paddy O'Hara, from the Met's dog unit, said: "It's really important for dog owners to microchip their dogs, so that if, in the unfortunate circumstance, they are stolen, we can return them to you as quickly as possible if they are recovered."
Officers also suspect they have uncovered an unlicensed puppy breeding operating at the site. Bromley council has now started an investigation into offences under breeding regulations.
During ongoing searches of the site, officers also seized a number of other animals on welfare grounds, including 45 chickens, a pony, four gold finches and several cats and kittens.
The animals have been handed over to the RSPCA who are continuing to work with police to reunite pets with their rightful owners.