Cliftonville arrests revealed as part of major international operation to tackle organised crime

Cash seizure made by Met Police

Five arrests made in Cliftonville were part of a major international operation to tackle organised crime.

More than £330,000 in cash, around £40,000 worth of class A drugs and a sawn-off shotgun were seized in Kent as part of the operation.

Kent Police has been working closely with the National Crime Agency (NCA) and other policing partners where, overall, thousands of individuals have been identified as being involved in organised crime across the UK and Europe.

A bespoke encrypted global mobile service called EncroChat, used exclusively by suspected criminals, has been shut down after UK law enforcement cracked the company’s encryption.

The encrypted handsets allowed users to securely communicate on a platform which up until now was impenetrable. International partners have now successfully accessed and dismantled Encrochat – disrupting one of the key communication networks used by the some of the most serious offenders.

The NCA has reported there were 60,000 users worldwide and around 10,000 users in the UK – the sole use was for coordinating and planning the distribution of illicit commodities, money laundering and plotting to kill rival criminals.

As a result of the collaborative work, detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate were able to make arrests and several people have been charged with drugs-related offences.

As part of the Kent operation there were a number of arrests in Dover, Strood, Deal, Eltham and Crawley.

Among the low level arrests were those resulting from a search warrant carried out by the Thanet Community Policing Team at an address in Surrey Road, Cliftonville on April 30.

Five people were arrested after patrols discovered a sawn-off shotgun and a large quantity of heroin. Over £10,000 in cash, 200 deals of cocaine and cannabis were also seized.

William Cairns, 64, Ashley Cairns, 32 and Phillip Gibson, 19, all of Surrey Road  along with Jordan Bourton, 20, of Edgar Road, Cliftonville, and a 17-year-old boy from Margate have been charged with two counts of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs, one count of being concerned in the supply of class B drugs and possession of criminal property.

Ashley Cairns, Mr Gibson, Mr Bourton and the 17-year-old boy have also been charged with possessing a prohibited firearm. The four men have been remanded in custody and the teenager has been released on bail all awaiting a trial.

Arrests were also made by Met Police as part of the operation resulting in a cash seizure of £13million.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tom Richards said: “This international operation has been the biggest and most significant of its kind in the UK and is a great example of excellent partnership work.

“There will always be a determined, sustained and co-ordinated focus by Kent Police on the activity of any criminal gang, with robust and rigorous enforcement.

“Working with our partners, we are continuing to crack down hard on those trying to sell drugs and who criminally exploit the vulnerable, which can have a devastating impact on our communities.

“We take a zero-tolerance approach to gang-related crime and work continuously with neighbouring forces to target known offenders. If you are planning to commit crime there is a very high chance we already know who you are and our officers will arrest you.”


  1. How the heck do we get these living here
    Drug dealers come from London and then use others to sell drugs

    That’s just on my doorstep but nothing new about drugs… Builder next door smokes weed so does the neighbour next to me… Half of Thanet have drug addiction problems leading to crime or other mental health issues

    • Agreed. I live in Surrey road – half is nice – the rest is dire. Lots of residents ‘pop’ in and out of the few same flats… mmm makes you wonder?

  2. Full marks to the various police forces for this important break through in combating organised crime. Let us hope the courts now follow up with substantial penalties as these are the top tier of criminality, not the lowly street runners that usually get caught. NICE ONE!

  3. A quick “google” reveals some interesting background for the Cairns dream team. Nice family !

  4. Over the last three months when going out for a walk the smell of that skank weed has been repulsive. Chapel Place Lane, Grange Road, sea front shelters, Crescent Road, Ellington Park. If you are going to smoke weed can you keep to the nicer smelling stuff please.

  5. Good work maybe the police can arrest the drug dealers selling there stuff every night under the entrance in the private entrance from road ,and in the Camden road it has to stop

  6. If you watch the entrance for cars rear of pizza express flats drug delivery and pick up were are the police ..

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