Dyfed-Powys Police officers believe they struck a major blow to the supply of Class A drugs to south and west Wales – and have urged users to take the opportunity of limited availability to seek support to overcome their addictions.

Following a number of drug related deaths over the past couple of years, predominantly in Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, the force set up Operation Ulysses to tackle the supply of drugs into the area in a bid to prevent further tragedies.

As part of the operation, the force’s serious and organised crime team has been conducting a protracted and thorough drug-trafficking investigation.

In recent months the operation entered the arrest phase, where officers, supported by the National Crime Agency, carried out arrests in North Wales, Aberystwyth and Llanelli.

To date 22 individuals have been charged with conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. All these defendants have been remanded and await trial in crown court.

A further eight individuals have been arrested and released under investigation.

As well as arresting these individuals, assets have been seized, with the assistance of an Asset Recovery Contractor, and will be held until the outcome of any trials and hearings.

A spokesman for the force said the disruption to the supply chain was likely to impact on users.

“We are acutely aware of the effect the disruption of supply to users of Class A drugs that these arrests will result in,” said the spokesman, “and we are working very closely with our partners in health and drugs charities to ensure the appropriate support is available to those effected at this time.“

Detective Superintendent Steve Matchett said: “I am urging users of Class A drugs to seek the help and support that is available to them.

“Our partners are ready and waiting to provide you with all the necessary help that you require – and I cannot stress how important it is that you take advantage of this opportunity.

“Together with our partners, our priority at this stage is to give you the chance to turn things around, and live a drug-free life.

“But I also want to be clear, if you do not engage in the treatment and support being offered, continued drugs use will not be tolerated in the Dyfed-Powys area.

“We have seen too many lives end in tragedy, and the suffering that families and friends have to endure.”

Sian Roberts, Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Services, Service Manager said: “Dyfed Drug and Alcohol Services (DDAS) have welcomed the fresh approach taken by Dyfed-Powys Police, making it their priority for individuals to have an opportunity to enter substance misuse treatment.

“DDAS enjoy working in partnership with the police, however anyone’s treatment information will remain confidential.

“We offer a warm and friendly welcome to anyone requiring our service.

“If anyone is looking for support to change their drug and/or alcohol use or is worried or concerned about someone else’s substance misuse, please contact DDAS on 03303 639 997 or email us at confidential@d-das.co.uk. DDAS work as part of a multi-agency substance misuse treatment system and work closely with partners to ensure all our service user’s needs are met.”

Dyfed-Powys Police has been focussing on tackling those conspiring to bring drugs into the region for a considerable time, and back in February and March, 12 people were convicted following a covert operation named Operation Panther, to tackle heroin abuse.

Det Supt Matchett said: “Drugs misuse creates significant harm to our communities, and I want to be clear that if you are involved in the supply of drugs in the Dyfed-Powys area we will take robust action against you.

“Those that supply drugs are not welcome in Dyfed-Powys, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that they are brought to justice.”

Senior Crown Prosecutor, Gemma Vincent said: “We’ve worked closely with Dyfed-Powys Police in providing early investigative advice on this matter, and we’ll continue to work diligently with our partner agencies throughout the legal process.

“The Crown Prosecution Service reminds all that criminal proceedings against those concerned are now active and that they have the right to a fair trial.

“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”