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Drug seizures rose substantially in 2008

7 May 2009

Last year, police and customs agents made 216,792 seizures of drugs in England and Wales - an increase of 17% over the previous year.

It represents the largest number of drug seizures since records were first compiled on the issue in 1973.

Increases across the board

Seizures were up in all classes of drugs, and in most major categories within those classes.

Class A drugs: Cocaine seizures increased by 26%, crack by 9%, and heroin by 2%. Like the previous year, cocaine was the most commonly seized Class A drug.

Class B drugs: Seizures increased by 4% overall, with amphetamine seizures increasing 5%.

Class C drugs: Seizures increased by 20%, with herbal cannabis seizures increasing by 26%, seizures of cannabis plants increasing by 47%.

Key totals

In terms of sheer volume, huge amounts of drugs were seized last year.

Key seizure totals include:

  • more than 3 tons of cocaine
  • 1 ton of heroin
  • 947,000 ecstasy tablets
  • nearly 2 tons of amphetamines
  • nearly 20 tons of herbal cannabis
  • more than 16 tons of cannabis resin
  • 508,460 individual cannabis plants

Encouraging numbers

Policing and Crime Minister Vernon Coaker said the numbers were 'encouraging'. 

'Our aim is clear: We want fewer people to start using drugs, and of those who do use drugs, we are getting record number into treatment,' he said. 'I want to see these numbers continue to fall so that our streets and communities can be free from the crime and anti-social behaviour caused by drug misuse and drug dealing.'

Find out more

To see the full amounts of seized drugs from 2007-08, you can download the Home Office statistical bulletin for seizures of drugs in England and Wales, 2007-08.


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