By William Coleman
The world of crime and leisure vehicles has always seemed to interweave, for reasons that are far beyond me, but now it seems as though drug gangs have found them to be a go to method for cargo transport across the country as well as making their products.
When it comes to getting creative with your caravan or motorhome turning it into a drug mulling tourer does not exactly come to the forefront of the imagination, well, unless you are a drug dealer.
Some of you may have seen an American TV show called Breaking Bad where a teacher and student decide to use a 1986 Fleetwood Bounder RV to build a drug empire across America. So you could be forgiven for not thinking a scheme as wild as this would actually influence drug gangs here in the UK.
Now it seems as though county line crossing drug gangs are using motorhome and caravans, as depicted in Breaking Bad, in efforts to avoid being found out by the police.
You may be asking yourself, “is this not an expensive way to transport things”, well not if you use sites such as Gumtree to rent from. These sites are not exactly known for their paper trails and above board dealings.
Dealers are either buying very cheap second hand vans or paying a small fee to “rent” them for a few days to do their dodgy dealings, often leaving the renter unaware their vehicle was used to run and make drugs across the UK.
As well as using these caravans and motorhomes to move their products around they are also using these inconspicuous portable dwellings to chop up and make the drugs ready for distribution. Scarily similar to the scenes shown on TV. Would you find it suspicious to see a parked caravan or motorhome with people sitting in there?
It has been reported that one dealer from Liverpool hired a touring caravan and was actually driving around serving addicts in Welsh seaside resorts. A far cry from your touring ice cream van of years gone by.
Another horrific method these gangs are employing, which police have publicly said they are aware of and are struggling to combat against, is using youngsters to distribute drugs. This is, for me, the absolute worst part of this story.
Using rented motorhome and caravans with zero traceability and then youngsters as their street dealers is a method which makes it extremely hard to capture and convict. The children are too young to convict, and are usually forced into this role against their wills making them another victim of drug crime.
One brasen dealer actually spoke to the Daily Star about the new methods they are using to avoid detection, “‘The good thing about caravans is that you can come and go when you like, you don’t look out of place,’.
The drug dealer also went on to mention how the constant movement of the operation makes it a lot harder for police to monitor activities as he is constantly on the move.
The dealer said: ‘There’s big money to be made. We’ll bag up the bobby [heroin] and put it out on the streets at £10 a bag.’
Another dealer, who is thankfully no longer on the streets saw that caravan sites are also a great place to ply his trade as they are well hidden, usually in quite secluded areas, where there is not much police presence or activity.
The dealer mentioned above, Gerard Derby, actually hired a caravan for a fortnight at the Golden Sands Caravan Park, Kinmel Bay. It was here where he set up a base for dealing. He was captured by authorities and was sent to prison, along with an associate, just before Christmas 2019.
It really is a shame that the scourge of drug dealing is now bleeding over into the caravan world, albeit by non caravan lovers. It is just one more thing that tarnished the industry that we all work too hard to keep clean and safe.
Is it a case of film and TV influencing the public or are things like this inevitable?