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Operation Raptor aimed at disrupting County Lines drugs networks sees Rambo knife seized in Gravesend

By Ed McConnell

A 16-inch hunting knife with ‘Rambo – First Blood Part II’ written on the hilt was one of several knives seized during a week-long police operation aimed at disrupting 'County Lines' drug networks.

Operation Raptor also saw thousands of pounds worth of drugs discovered and 20 arrests made.

County Lines refers to criminal networks in London, who sometimes attempt to sell and distribute class A drugs including heroin and crack cocaine in Kent.

The Rambo knife seized in Gravesend. Picture: Kent Police
The Rambo knife seized in Gravesend. Picture: Kent Police

The Rambo knife, pictured, was found at a property in Gravesend along with £800 cash on the first day of the operation last Monday.

Two suspected drug dealers were arrested by officers who carried out a warrant at the address, while two of their alleged associates were arrested after pulling up to the house in a taxi.

Derrick Parchment, 49, of Wycliffe Row, Gravesend, was charged with possession of heroin and bailed to appear before Medway Magistrates’ Court on January 9.

A 17-year-old boy from London was charged with possession of cannabis and possession of a knife in a public place. He pleaded guilty to both offences when he appeared before Medway Magistrates’ last week and was sentenced to a four-month detention and training order.

A 14-year-old boy from London was charged with the same offences and pleaded guilty when he appeared at Bexley Magistrates’ Court last week. He was bailed until Saturday, December 23, for sentencing. A 17-year-old girl was released without charge.

The clampdown was run by officers from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who provided daily intelligence to their colleagues from roads policing, community safety units and other patrols within Kent Police in order for them to target specific vehicles and individuals.

An 18-inch machete was also recovered following the arrest of a 21-year-old man whose car was stopped at Junction 7 for Maidstone on the London-bound carriageway of the M20 motorway.

More than 80 small packets of heroin and crack cocaine were also seized, in addition to £200 cash.

In Gillingham a vehicle of interest was stopped and two men from London arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs after £1,800 cash was seized.

Officers also carried out checks on vulnerable residents across the week, and on one occasion at an address in Margate found a 17-year-old boy hidden beneath one such resident’s bed. He was arrested and more than £1,000 cash was discovered in a wardrobe.

An 18-inch machete seized. Picture: Kent Police
An 18-inch machete seized. Picture: Kent Police

Det Chf Supt Rob Fordham said: "Kent Police is committed to tackling the supply of illegal substances, which can pose a significant risk to our communities and bring misery to people’s lives.

"Those involved in the sale of class A drugs are ruthless and stop at nothing in order to ply their harmful trade, even committing other serious offences against addicts, rival dealers or innocent members of the public with the use of knives and other weapons.

"Our use of both uniformed and plain-clothed officers is already making it very difficult for these criminal groups to gain a foothold in Kent and there will be no let-up in our determination to keep these people off our streets.

"Kent Police is committed to tackling the supply of illegal substances, which can pose a significant risk to our communities and bring misery to people’s lives" - Det Chief Supt Rob Fordham

"Operation Raptor continues to yield some excellent results and we hope our subsequent enquiries into those arrested during this week of action will see a significant number of them being brought before the courts.

"The general public are our eyes and ears in the fight against drugs and I urge people to continue to report any suspicious behaviour by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency. If you wish to prefer anonymous you can contact Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

"By continuing to work together we not only ensure Kent remains a safe place to live, work and visit, but we also reinforce the message to criminals that there is no hiding place from the law."

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