FIVE co-ordinated dawn raids saw drugs and stolen property recovered as police carried out a pro-active operation to curb burglaries.

Officers executed warrants at five addresses in Toothill on Wednesday and Thursday in response to a recent spike in burglaries in the West Swindon area.

The operation follows a covert, late-night initiative by members of the West Swindon Neighbourhood Policing team who found 61 car doors unlocked during random checks over a week.

Earlier this month, the Adver reported a gang of opportunists had struck 22 times since December 16, looting 17 cars, two homes and three garages and making off with Christmas presents, iPods and laptops.

On Wednesday, teams of officers armed with taser-shields and accompanied by dog units, burst into homes in Beaulieu Close and Oakham Close at 8.15am.

In Oakham Close, a 16-year-old boy was arrested for possession with intent to supply a Class B drug. He has been released on police bail while investigations continue.

In the same road, a 43-year-old man was charged with possession of a controlled Class B drug.

In Beaulieu Close, a 36-year-old man was also charged with possession of a controlled Class B drug.

Nobody was arrested during two raids which took place in Walter Close and Stamford Close yesterday but police found drug paraphernalia, prescription medication and a bank card not in the name of the occupants.

Sergeant Pete Foster said: “We ran an operation following the spate of insecurities, which the Adver reported at the time.

“It involved officers patrolling the streets in plain-clothes trying door handles at random. “We found 61 cars unlocked, containing tools, golf clubs – thousands of pounds worth of equipment.

“It is a major concern because we have persistently put out a message to warn of the risks.

“As part of the operation we aimed to pursue those who were carrying out the burglaries, and conducted 76 stop and searches across last week. “These uncovered small amounts of heroin, cannabis and stolen goods.

“We caught four people with controlled drugs, one in a vehicle which they did not have consent to drive and had no licence/insurance for and identified one suspect for a dwelling burglary in the area who has since been arrested released on police bail.

“The second phase of this operation was to execute a number of warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Act in the area – looking specifically for cannabis.

“Drug use is related to acquisitive crime and in turn is a major cause of anti-social behaviour. “By these warrants we hope to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in West Swindon and send out a message this behaviour will not be tolerated.”

Chief Constable Pat Geenty joined the neighbourhood team. He said: “This is what neighbourhood policing is about. These officers are taking action against drugs in their community.”

During the raids, police found a blue Kona Fire mountain bike with black suspension forks which they believe has been stolen. Anyone with information about it should phone PC Tom Turner at West Swindon NPT on 101.