Eighteen people arrested over drug offences after Wiltshire raids

A replica gun and knives recovered from a property in Swindon
Image caption A replica gun and and knives were recovered from a property in Swindon

Eighteen people have been arrested for drug offences after raids on 17 properties across Wiltshire.

About 120 officers searched addresses in Swindon, Melksham and Chippenham as part of investigations into the activity of two large gangs.

The arrests were made on suspicion of drug supply offences.

Wiltshire Police said "quantities of crack, heroin and cannabis" were recovered, along with a replica firearm and other offensive weapons.

BBC reporter Karen Gardner, who joined the police operation, said the two gangs being sought had a history of violence with firearms, knives and screwdrivers.

She said: "They were seeking members of two gangs - the 'BB' network which operates in Swindon and originates in Hackney, and the 'blood gang' from Bristol, which operates in the north and west of Wiltshire."

Det Chief Insp Craig Holden said the raids were prompted by information provided by the local communities.

He said the value of "community-led intelligence" enabled the force to provide a "sustained and robust enforcement response".

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