Road safety operation leads to significant cannabis find

A routine road safety check led to a substantial quantity of cash, drugs and associated paraphernalia being found at an address in Haywards Heath.

Almost 300 further offences were recorded during the operation, which took place on Saturday and Sunday (19-20 June).

Officers from Sussex Police and the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership worked together to provide education, engagement and enforcement across the county.

The aim of this dedicated activity – run in addition to routine roads policing 365 days a year – is to create an environment that is inhospitable to the dangerous or antisocial use of vehicles on the roads, thereby reducing road casualties, and the impact of noise and poor behaviour on local communities.

About 4pm on 19 June, police stopped a vehicle in Phoenix Causeway, Lewes, after the driver was seen to not be wearing a seatbelt – this is one of the five most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions, along with drink and drug-driving, speeding, mobile phone use and careless driving, known collectively as the ‘fatal five’.

After detecting the smell cannabis, the man and his car were searched, and officers discovered a quantity of cannabis and about £2,000 in cash. Due to this, a search of his address was authorised, where officers discovered a larger quantity of the Class B drug, a further £10,000 cash, and items including weighing scales and a diary of contacts.

The suspect – a 51-year-old man from Haywards Heath – was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis, and acquiring or possessing criminal property. He has been released under investigation, pending further enquiries.

Chief Inspector Michael Hodder, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “This was a fantastic piece of work by all teams involved, and an excellent example of how our proactive approach to roads policing can lead to some significant offences being detected.

“Three particular officers involved in this incident had all started their shift at 8am that day and did not leave to go home until 1am the following morning. Their dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm for this job should not go un-noticed.”

Later that evening, around 8.25pm, police received a report of concerns for a woman in a car in Veronica Way, Brighton. Officers responded and signalled for the vehicle to stop, but the driver continued and collided with the police vehicle, causing minor injuries to one of the officers.

The suspect vehicle was later intercepted by an unmarked police car on the A23 northbound and pursued to Hassocks, where it was boxed in.

The driver – Bernard Ferris, 40, of Russell Square, Brighton – was arrested and charged with assaulting an emergency worker, failing to stop when required by police and dangerous driving.

He has been remanded in custody ahead of a court hearing at a date yet to be fixed.

The woman identified herself to police, and was safe and well. She disclosed no offences.

The following day (20 June), officers in Brighton reported seeing a Mclaren 570 Spider which appeared to be driven by someone it was not insured to.

This information was passed to the Roads Policing Unit, and later that day, around 6.35pm, the same vehicle was spotted on the A23 at Bolney.

Officers stopped the vehicle at Jeremy’s Corner and spoke with the driver, and enquiries confirmed he had no insurance to drive the McLaren and was also disqualified from driving.

He was subsequently reported for summons to court for these offences. The vehicle was seized under S165 for no insurance / licence.

In addition to the above events, police recorded numerous other motoring offences across the weekend.

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “This is another great example of how proactive policing in our county can stop criminal activity in its tracks.

“I’m pleased to see the hard work and dedication of our roads policing team leading to such tangible results. This should serve as a deterrent to those who think they can use the roads of Sussex for their own illegal gains.”

Chief Inspector Hodder added: “We will continue to have a heightened policing presence every weekend throughout the summer, as we strive to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads.”

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