THE amount of drug seizures made by police in Cheshire has more than trebled in the past three years, new government figures show.

Officers made 2,070 seizures in 2017/18 – a 95 per cent increase on the previous year and up from just 653 in 2015/16.

The constabulary says the increase comes as a result of a clamp down on drugs coming into Cheshire from Manchester and Liverpool, as well as to Creamfields music festival in Warrington.

The rise means the county saw the highest drug seizures to population ratio in the north west in 2017/18, above Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria constabularies.

It also gives Cheshire its highest amount of seizures since 2010/11, when the figure stood at 2,223.

DCI Mike Evans, from the Cheshire Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “While the increase in the number of drugs seizures in Cheshire over the past 12 months may cause some concern for residents, it’s important that the figures are put into context as the seizures themselves only form part of the narrative.

“While Cheshire is largely a rural county, it is home to a number of large towns and the city of Chester. It is also a conduit between two major cities in Liverpool and Manchester and is home to one of the biggest music festivals in the UK in Creamfields.

“As a result the county is occasionally targeted by organised crime gangs viewing Cheshire as an easy target. However, as the number of seizures show, the reality is very different.

“Illegal drugs have a detrimental impact on our communities and here at Cheshire Police we are committed to doing all that we can to tackle the issue and bring those involved in the supply of the drugs to justice.

“We have a dedicated Serious and Organised Crime Unit, a specialist team of officers who are committed enforcing the law and dismantling serious and organised crime gangs operating in Cheshire.

“As part of their work the team have conducted a number of high profile operations across the county.

“Examples of this include more than £20 million worth of class A drugs being seized on the M6 and Operation Rider, where 16 men from Warrington, Widnes, Carlisle and Cumbria were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class A drugs.

“We will continue to do all that we can to target those involved in the supply of illegal drugs in Cheshire, but we need support from the public in our ongoing fight against drugs.

“I urge anyone with any information about the supply or use of illegal drugs in Cheshire to contact us on 101 or give the detail online at . Information can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”