Porsche seized and two arrested in Westminster Police drugs and gang raids

18:27 27 February 2013

Police arrest a suspect in Abercorn Place, Maida Vale, during early morning raids as part of Operation Bigwing. Picture: Polly Hancock

Police arrest a suspect in Abercorn Place, Maida Vale, during early morning raids as part of Operation Bigwing. Picture: Polly Hancock


At least two people including a known gang member were arrested, a Porche and a quantity of drugs were seized in a series of early-morning police raids in Westminster today.

The crackdown, conducted across the capital under the codename Operation Big Wing, was targeted at tackling gang violence, drugs and knife crime.

The Wood & Vale joined Insp Andrew “Charlie” Morrow and his team on three of the raids in Westminster, including a flat in Abercorn Place, Maida Vale, where a man, pictured, was led away in handcuffs after his arrest on suspicion of possession of cannabis.

A second man was arrested at a property in Great Western Road, Westbourne Green, on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

And despite police not finding the man they wanted when they raided a tiny one-bedroom flat in Goldney Road, Maida Hill, they did find his Porsche - and promptly seized it under the Proceeds Of Crime Act.

A crack house on the Harrow Road was also due to be raided for a third time as the Wood & Vale went to press. Police have previously seized at least £15,000 in cash and large amounts of Class A drugs from there, and made several arrests.

The suspects are all on the Metropolitan Police’s gangs matrix, a vast database taking information from various official sources and combined with police intelligence to give the most rounded picture of each individual and their movements.

“This is why the gangs matrix is so good,” said Insp Morrow. “We pay extra attention to the matrix. And the key is to balance that enforcement with diverting them [from crime] with tickets for littering, not having a TV licence, and so on.”

After the raids, police handed out leaflets to neighbours explaining what they are doing and why, and members of the borough’s feted Integrated Gangs Unit (IGU), set up in November 2011, visit residents to gather witness statements and reassure them that action is being taken, alongside their local Safer Neighbourhoods Team officers.

Maria Brown, an enforcement officer with the IGU, said: “We tend to work with the victims and witnesses. i will speak to the neighbours to try and get evidence. They are often relieved and happy that somebody is doing something.

“They have to trust me in order to get the statements to present to the court. It is not always appropriate to take statements on the doorstep so I will arrange to meet them somewhere like a cafe or a police station, wherever they feel most comfortable.

“And for example if large sums of cash are found I will contact the housing benefit team, and liaise with the local authority in terms of any damage done to the property.”

The raids under Operation Big Wing represent just a fraction of those carried out by Westminster Police, who are keen to point out that more will follow.

The Met’s Ch Supt Simon Letchford said: “Gang violence, drugs, and knife crime are serious, high-harm crimes that can sadly have a devastating and lasting effect on local communities; however, there are also many other issues which might be seen as ‘lower level’ offences, such as anti-social behaviour or uninsured drivers, that we know can and do blight the daily lives of too many people.

“Today’s operation is about showing Londoners that we have listened to their concerns and we are committed to taking robust preventative and disruptive action to stop this criminal activity and make their communities safer. It’s also about warning those intent on breaking the law and engaging in criminal activity that we will be doing everything we can to stop them, and wherever possible we will be putting them before the courts.”

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

7 minutes ago

A group of angry Swiss Cottage residents have launched a campaign group to oppose plans by a private school to build new classrooms


A wheelchair-bound mum remains scared to leave the house, as the bus driver who ran her over at a zebra crossing was banned from driving for six months

An appeal has been launched to find a missing 89-year-old man from Kentish Town believed to have severe dementia.


Well, that didn’t take long. A lorry and van have “crashed” in Tufnell Park Road, the residential street being used as the main diversion during the A1 closure.


The funeral of a much-loved Hampstead Heath character who was killed in a road accident is being held tomorrow.


Residents in Frognal and Fitzjohns are being warned to protect their post after fresh reports of mail theft and fraud.

Yesterday, 13:38

Four Weddings and a Funeral film star Sophie Thompson donated a piece of art to an exhibition in aid of the National Hospital for Neurology in Queen’s Square, Bloomsbury.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news


Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now