Feb 22 2013 by Ian Russell, Kilmarnock Standard
Operation Fleet saw officers from force headquarters in Glasgow pour into Kilmarnock on Friday.
Almost 100 officers took part in the massive operation against organised criminals and those who blight communities with persistent offending.
Fleet saw high-profile initiatives all over the town.
It was a one-day forerunner to Operation Myriad – a five month force-wide campaign to tackle anti-social behaviour.
In Morven Avenue, Knockinlaw, and in Loreny Drive, Shortlees, officers forced entry to several houses, targeting drug dealers.
In a service yard at the back of Glencairn retail park, officers, including a British Transport Police team, joined up with East Ayrshire Council’s trading standards department, to blitz vans, lorries and cars in a crackdown on everything from counterfeit cigarettes to stolen metal.
And at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court, special metal detectors were in operation as officers looked for people in possession of knives and guns.
Teams of cops swooped on suspects in other parts of the town, as plain-clothes officers executed search warrants on people suspected of being involved in the supply of drugs. Tactical teams supported the raids, with officers using information supplied directly from concerned members of the public in many cases.
It was probably the huge operation behind the Glencairn retail park which most affected – and was most obvious to – anyone in the area.
From early in the morning, traffic police stopped vans and cars on roads around the town and escorted them to the static checkpoint.
There, vehicles old and new, commercial and private, were inspected not only for relatively low level issues like out-of-date tax discs, worn tyres, and other defects, but also for what might be hidden onboard.
Scrap metal, for instance.
Sergeant George Crawford said: “The theft of scrap metal is a major issue. Metal theft causes misery for thousands of people across the country.”
On Monday morning those involved in Fleet reflected on what they classed as a very successful Friday.
Said PC Chris Sewell: “One notable detection was the arrest of a 33-year-old man for the robbery of an 85-year-old woman in her own home in Kilmarnock in November.
“There were other positive results too, and it was a successful operation.”