*Our reporter, Richard Lawrence, joined Avon and Somerset Police in a day of police raids in West Somerset. It's the biggest one-day operation undertaken in the county. More than 140 people have already been arrested on suspicion of committing offences including robbery, fuel theft and drug dealing. *
Here's Richard's story.
It's twelve hours since I started my shift but as I write, hundreds of police officers from the Avon and Somerset force are engaged in Operation Relentless; it's an appropriate name .
I was sent to Bridgwater to join a 50 strong team on their raids to crack down on criminals whose actions are believed to be related . It was the culmination of months of intelligence work surrounding a drug supply chain that’s believed to operate in Weston super Mare, Highbridge , Burnham and Bridgwater .
There was a list of known suspects, from suppliers to those who may have committed thefts to feed their habit to people who may have handled stolen goods. As many officers as possible were deployed as a carefully planned round up began .
My fist stop; a flat in Highbridge where neighbouring residents had privately reported to police their observations . Inside was a man reported to be unemployed, but why then was there a large bundle of £50 and £20 notes adding up to thousands of pounds.
I didn't go in but I couldn't help noticing a strong smell. Up in the loft officers discovered a well organised cannabis growing operation.
Their search continued . We were called to a police prison cell in Burnham. It was being used to store the contents seized from a lock up in Bridgwater; dozens of drills and power tools as well as other electrical items all believed to have been stolen.
From there, it was back to the temporary command centre, a rugby club near Bridgwater. Senior officers were delighted. They appeared to be making a strong impact as the number of arrests grew . Handling the suspects was a logistical operation in itself as the tally of “prisoners” had reached more than a hundred across the force area by lunchtime.
It's not the first time they have held operations like this but this was possibly the biggest to date.
But the real measure will be how many criminals have they taken off the streets? Today's day of action has created months of work to follow through in the hope they don't have to go knocking on the same doors in future. If they do it will the prove the point that police work often is relentless.
Here's Richard Lawrence's full report.