MORE than £6m of illegal drugs was seized by police in Hampshirelast year.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics have revealed that almost half a ton of drugs costing an estimated £6,050,000 were seized in Hampshire.

The statistics for 2019 have revealed that of the 494kg of drugs seized, 454kg was cannabis and 6kg was cannabis resin. A total of 4,945 cannabis plants were also seized.

Of the total weight, 9kg was cocaine, 4kg was ecstasy, 3kg was LSD and 1kg was heroin.

A further 9kg was amphetamines, 7kg was steroids and 1kg was crack.

The Daily Echo has estimated the total of drugs to cost £6,050,000, but Hampshire Constabulary would not confirm this valuation.

In 2018 to 2019, police carried out a total of 1,995 seizures of drugs per million population in Hampshire - the most seizures carried out in the last five years.

A total of 250 of those were seizures of Class A drugs, 1,808 of Class B and 16 of Class C.

In September, 29 defendants were sentenced for a cumulative total of nearly 159 years for their part in the supply of Class A drugs across Hampshire and other counties.

Detective superintendent Scott MacKechnie, said: “Drugs can have a devastating impact on our communities.

“We are committed to disrupting drug supply and we continue our policing activity to intervene and dismantle drug networks throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”

He added: “As always, our officers are encouraged to use stop and search powers when they believe someone is in possession of drugs, whether that is for supply or for personal use.

“It is illegal to possess cannabis and we will use all disposal options open to us that are proportionate in the circumstances and use out of course disposals such as community resolutions and cannabis warnings.

“We can consider these as an alternative to criminalising someone who is a first time offender or child, for example, when diversionary options are more beneficial to steer that person away from pursuing a path to increasing drug use or involvement in criminality that is often associated with drug use.”

Councillor Dave Shields said he “applauds” the local success achieved by the police in the last year, but added he was “concerned” that the amount of illegal drug seizures may represent “the tip of an iceberg”.

He added: “Perhaps we need to see a different approach altogether in how we deal with the underlying problems linked to drug misuse.

“There is growing support for the adoption of a ‘public health’ led approach to drug dependency and it will be interesting to see how the next Government proposes to respond to this.”