More than a dozen cars were seized across a Bolton while more than 100 people were searched in ongoing efforts to disrupt the drugs trade.

The seizures and searches took place over the last month in response to concerns raised in the community about street dealing and the crime associated with it.

Sergeant Chris Gaskell, of Greater Manchester Police, told a public meeting in Halliwell this week that figures showed that seizing the vehicles in particular was having an effect on reducing crime more broadly in the community.

He said: “These are generally vehicles associated with drug dealing.

The Bolton News: Cllrs Rabiya Jiva, Safwaan Patel and Kevin Morris addressed the meeting with Sergeant Chris GaskellCllrs Rabiya Jiva, Safwaan Patel and Kevin Morris addressed the meeting with Sergeant Chris Gaskell (Image: Newsquest)

“Although they don’t necessarily contain drugs at the time they’re stopped, our intelligence is that generally this is what they are associated with.”

Sergeant Gaskell told the Partners and Community Together (PACT) meeting at All Souls, off Astley Street this week that a similar situation applied when searching people.

Along with the 15 vehicles seized a total of around 120 people were searched.

He said: “We don’t always catch people with drugs, but the knock-on effect is that it makes people think they can’t be too obvious.”

Sergeant Gaskell drew on one recent example in which a car was stopped which was found to have contained around 10kg of cocaine, estimated to have been worth thousands.

He said: “I can’t go into too much detail, but they were arrested, we’ve taken those drugs off the streets and the investigation is ongoing.”

This came in response to long running complaints in the community around Halliwell about drug related crime, with several meeting attendees saying that they had noticed an increase in street dealing in their areas in recent times.

They had also raised concerns about what seemed to be a lack of a visible police presence in many parts of their community.

But the meeting, which brought together police officer with community representatives including Cllrs Rabiya Jiva, Safwaan Patel and Kevin Morris sought to hear people’s concerns and work to address them.

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Many of them stressed the importance on receiving “intelligence” from residents to deal with crime effectively.

But Sergeant Gaskell also stressed the importance of ensuring sources were kept safe.

He said: “If it means that we are exposing someone to danger, whether that means their house getting bricked or at the worst someone getting killed, we won’t do it.”

He added: “We would rather pull a case from court than put someone at risk.”