Northumbria Police hail success of Operation Sentinel after year of drug raids and gang convictions in the North East

A police operation targeting organized crime celebrates its first birthday today, after a blockbuster initial year that saw millions of pounds of drugs seized and a plethora of criminals convicted.

Operation Sentinel, a joint venture between Northumbria Police, Durham Constabulary and North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU), aims to crack down on serious and organized crime in the North East.

The operation has seen £2.7 million worth of drugs seized from criminal gangs, 18 illegal firearms confiscated, and 32 criminal convictions handed down to some of the areas most dangerous criminals.

Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Felton, the Force’s new head of crime, has warned criminal gangs in the area that the police are ready and willing to step up their action after the major success of the first year.

He said: “People who involve themselves in violent crimes not the people our community should be looking up to – they are dangerous offenders who flout the law for their own gain.

“This year we will continue to carry out surveillance on criminal gangs, tracking and monitoring their organisations, the people involved in them and the activities they carry out. There will be nowhere to hide when we come for you.

“Since we launched Operation Sentinel, our officers have worked tirelessly to make sure anyone involved in illicit criminal activity is brought before the courts. Their achievements in the past year have been no mean feat and I would like to say a massive thank you to all of them for their hard work.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “The results speak for themselves – the hard work and joint approach pays off and we need to keep it up. The message is clear – those responsible for serious crimes will be caught and robust action will be taken.

“It’s crucial for our police to have the resource they need to clamp down on these offenders and I am fully committed to this area of work. It’s not just about keeping up with the criminals – it’s about getting ahead of them. I look forward to seeing the operation continue to grow.”

Key cases targeted by Operation Sentinel include the counterfeit merchandise and drugs raid in Elswick in May 2019, which saw 145 pieces of clothing, 286 logo badges, 6,440 cigarettes, 3.05kg of hand rolling tobacco, 1.4kg of cannabis and 1,300 tablets seized from the property.

Contact Details:

Kim McGuinness:, 0191 221 9800

Dave Felton:

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