A dedicated  operation targeting criminal activity in Thornton Heath resulted in 40 arrests with specialist officers involved in police pursuits carrying out forced stops on a number of vehicles as suspects tried to evade capture.

Many of the offences were detected during the proactive use of stop and search and among those detained were individuals suspected of drug dealing, carrying out knife point robberies and a well known burglar armed with this impressive  tool kit (pictured top right) who was also known to be involved in Catalytic Convertor thefts.

Police stopped and searched 189 people and carried out 19 weapon sweeps in areas such as parks and car parks with the Mets Specials brought in to conduct the searches (pictured) including on Brigstock Road and on Thornton Heath High Street.



Among the arrests was a vehicle which was stopped and searched and an amount of Class A drugs and drug paraphernalia, found in these socks, believed to be prepared for selling to people in Thornton Heath (see picture top left).

The week long Operation Van Buren, replicated the success of Operation Cleveland in West Croydon which and is part of a new Met initiative to tackle violent crime in the Croydon area.

The violence suppression units also visited local shops and businesses liaising with the owners and customers to gain intelligence on the activities that are affecting the area most.

Over the weekend specialist tactical pursuit and containment Operation Van Buren officers became involved in a chase involving mopeds which were being ridden dangerously by multiple passengers.

These mopeds matched the description of a moped committing knife point robberies and during the pursuit the bike was ridden dangerously on the pavement for a considerable distance  in excess of the speed limit.

Officers used their knowledge and vehicles to bring to end the pursuit  boxing in the moped and detaining by force both the rider and pillion passenger.

This was after the rider attempted to run down police officers who were attempting to detain them. Both were well known to police for violence, firearms, drugs and offensive weapons offences and  were arrested for an array of offences following the pursuit.

Police are investigating whether the moped was also stolen from the N16 area and it has been sent for a full forensic examination.

Officers continued on their targeted patrols around the Thornton Heath area and responded to an Automated Number Plate Recognition activation relating to a potential burglary and Catalytic Converter theft, where the suspect had repeatedly made off from police since once while disturbed committing a Cat theft only a few months ago.

The vehicle was boxed in by a specialist pursuit team after attempting to make off and the driver was detained for a search.

An initial and full investigation on the roadside showed that the suspect was linked to a Catalytic Converter theft in Lewisham and Bromley and was found in possession of tools associated to that crime and other Catalytic Converter thefts. The man is a well-known burglar and was arrested by police.

Across London the number of Catalytic Converter thefts rose by 50 percent to 14,500 last year with Croydon among the second worst hit.

Thieves steal the Cats for the precious metals inside them, which prevent exhaust fumes, but can sell for hundreds of pounds and are sent oversees.

Organised crime gangs are behind multiple thefts and have moved on from targeting car parks to cars parked on driveways and residential streets during lockdown. The thieves who have become increasingly violent often commit offences in full view,  jacking up the vehicle and removing the valuable device in a matter of  seconds leaving the car owner with a costly replacement bill.

More than 300 officers took part in raids on Tuesday across London as part of Operation Basswood which targets Catalytic converter crime.