Barnstaple Class A drugs arrests follow discovery of white powder in van
Two men have been arrested after police carrying out routine vehicle checks in Barnstaple found what they believe is £10,000 worth of class A drugs in a Vauxhall Astra van.
The men, one aged 31 and from Bideford and another aged 30 and from Barnstaple, were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply.
PC James Wood, based in Barnstaple, was organising the operation which led to the arrests.
He was in charge of an ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) operation in Alexandra Road, where motorists are stopped and have their vehicle and credentials checked.
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He said: "We pulled over a van because it looked a bit ropey and after asking the occupants to get out officers noticed the smell of cannabis. After opening the vehicle we found a large amount of white powder which has gone off for analysis."
The powder was found in a bag in the glove compartment of the van.
PC Wood and his colleagues believe the powder is a quantity of class A drugs, worth around £10,000.
Several other cars were pulled over and smelt of cannabis. The details of those cars have now been entered into the ANPR system and the owners face the prospect of being pulled over whenever they pass an ANPR camera.
PC Wood said the operation also saw about 20 people issued with tickets for routine offences like using a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seatbelt.
"People assume we're just looking for easy tickets," said PC Wood, "but that's not the case. We get cases like this and we're also looking to prevent crashes which result in death or serious injury. Things like bald tires or defective lights are things which can be easily fixed but often aren't and can contribute to accidents."