Operation Viking - 3 years for drug dealer who twice failed to escape from officers
An Epsom drug dealer who failed to get away from Operation Viking officers on two occasions is now behind bars for 3 years.
It is the latest success for Op Viking which is an ongoing campaign by Surrey Police to disrupt drug dealers coming into the county from London to commit crime. It has so far seen 26 people charged and a total of 60 arrests since starting before Christmas, as well as thousands of pounds cash, phones, cars and drugs taken off the streets.
Francis Barry, pictured left, aged 18, of Rowden Road, Epsom threw away his drugs as he sped away from officers on a moped and again when trying to outrun an Op Viking officer in Epsom in January and November – failing on both occasions.
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Preston said: “Op Viking continues to prove a success with yet another drug dealer off the streets for a considerable amount of time.
“Just one drug dealer can cause an untold impact on such a wide group of people as it leads to all sorts of criminality with addicts stealing to pay for their habit, dealers using violence to enforce debts and commit crime among rival gangs. All of this impacts on innocent members of the public who we are working incredibly hard to protect.
“Francis Barry probably thought he could get away on his moped and outrun our officers but he was wrong and is now facing time behind bars. He even tried to outsmart us by ditching his drugs on the run, but some good old fashioned police work got the evidence we needed to take him off the streets.
The first incident happened at 12.15am on November 5 when officers attempted to stop a moped in East Street, Epsom at a traffic light.
Barry, a self-employed roofer, turned his moped around and sped away down a narrow road nearby where officers caught up with him within 30 seconds.
Officers searched the area where he had stopped and found wraps of cannabis skunk, cocaine and a lock knife thrown under a van which CCTV later showed had been put there by Barry drove by.
His home address was searched which revealed a large amount of cash, herbal substances, plastic bags, scales, a butter knife with drug residue on it. An air pistol and pellets were also found. His two phones were analysed and showed messages relating to arranging drug deals.
He found himself on the wrong side of the law again on January 17 when a car he was in pulled into Andover Road, Epsom at around 4.45pm where a man leaned into the vehicle to do a drug deal.
Officers followed the car and later stopped it in Blakeney Close, where Barry, who was a front seat passenger, failed in an attempt to outrun officers.
During the chase he threw wraps of cocaine and cannabis into a garden which were found on a search afterwards. His home address was searched where £3,000 in cash, mobile phones, scales, a knife with drug residue on it and wrap bags were found.
DCI Preston added: “This is exactly the kind of incident which the public might see in their neighbourhoods as deals often happen quickly by leaning into cars. If you see this kind of suspicious activity or anything you suspect could be a criminal offence please don’t hesitate to contact us.
“If you don’t want to talk to us, you can report any information in complete anonymity to the independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.”
Barry was charged and pleaded guilty to possessing Class A and B drugs with intent to supply and possession of a bladed article. He was also sentenced, at Guildford Crown Court on March 16, on the basis that he is prohibited from possessing air gun ammunition as pellets for an air pistol were found in a search of his home.