Whilst North Yorkshire's road crime team targets drug deals in transit, an investigation unfolds after a crash on one of the county's fast rural dual carriageways.
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North Yorkshire, the largest county in England and Wales.
Its 6,000 miles of roads are some of the most dangerous in the UK.
He's hit the central reservation, at which point
he's flipped on the brow and he has ended up here.
Three of winter's toughest months,
our cameras had full access to every aspect of this force, 24/7.
Good afternoon, North Yorkshire Police.
This is an access all areas guide to policing North Yorkshire's roads.
As well as having some of the highest accident rates in Britain,
recently there has been a rise in drug-driving across this county.
What have you taken, mate? What have you had?
Drugs and drug-driving have become a major challenge
for North Yorkshire's traffic cops.
They have to keep drugs off the street,
catch those who pose a risk behind the wheel...
I've got no sympathy for anybody that takes drugs
and then drives a motor vehicle on the road.
..and deal with the aftermath of the tragedy left behind
by drivers too drugged to drive.
I am investigating more deaths on the road in a single year
than detectives may do in their entire careers.
Drink-driving has become socially unacceptable.
Drugs, however, is a different kettle of fish.
Britain's 250,000-mile road network
transports more than 100 billion tonnes of goods each year.
But it's also exploited by the growing drug trade.
Last year, police made nearly 200,000 drug seizures
in England and Wales.
In North Yorkshire, seizures were at a ten-year high.
Targeting the supply of drugs into the county is a complex operation,
coordinated from the Force Control Room in York.
-Good afternoon, Force Control Room. How can I help?
This area is North Yorkshire.
And we've got the A1 that travels all the way through it.
We've also got the A19 and the A64, which are quite major roads.
We get a lot of drugs crime in the York area.
We also seem to be getting quite a few drugs nominals
picking up in the Skipton area.
It's Wednesday, 2pm, and intelligence has come in
about a suspect returning to North Yorkshire from Leeds.
The information is immediately passed to Mick Roffe and Paul Stamp
of North Yorkshire's Road Crime Team.
-'0267, 0267, we're just getting on to them now.'
We have just got some information that a vehicle, a blue Astra,
has just travelled into West Yorkshire's area.
Generally people go from this area, Harrogate,
to buy drugs in West Yorkshire and then come back.
The drugs that are mentioned are quite large quantities, so we are
going to try and sneaky beaky... plain car and try to catch him.
For every user, there's umpteen crimes that that user commits
to fund an ongoing drug habit.
The police expect the target Astra to return to Harrogate on the A61.
We're just down a side street, trying to blend in as best we can.
The idea is for him to come past and not know he's being followed by us.
It just gives us a bit more time to set the trap, if you like.
The Astra has been tracked entering North Yorkshire
by roadside automatic numberplate recognition cameras.
ANPR cameras are designed to pick up on VRMs of vehicles,
so your number plate.
No matter what time of the day you come through,
it will read your plate patch
and it'll feed that directly into our system straight away.
There's usually no delay on it.
So I know I can say to officers,
"This vehicle has just been through this camera."
Although police have over 8,000 ANPR cameras across the country,
they don't cover every road.
Now it's down to Mick and Paul
to spot the Astra among the passing traffic.
Nearly one hour later, the Astra still hasn't shown.
-'I don't know if you're monitored...'
The operation might have to be called off.
Just all units on this channel, then -
we'll stand this one down at 4:30 if this vehicle's not returned.
Just as they're about to call it a day...
..the trap is sprung.
Contact, contact, contact on the subject vehicle.
Descends the Hill, A61 towards Harrogate.
Yeah, that's it.
Mick and Paul direct nearby units in to support.
From 91, committed, committed, committed
as we negotiate that junction on the A61 still towards Harrogate.
On approach to Harewood Bridge.
What we're trying to do is remain out of sight all the time.
We don't want him for a second...
to think that police are coming up on him.
We're just trying to set that trap now, really.
-'Astra just crossed the bridge.'
91, yes, yes, speed is now 45. Still one vehicle cover.
On approach to a nearside junction.
The Astra takes a right turn,
but oncoming traffic means the police can't follow.
Right, right, right at this junction.
Towards Kirkby Overblow and we are blocked by traffic.
-Oscar, Romeo units, are you in that area?
That'll do, that'll do.
The Astra has turned directly into another support unit.
91, I can see you have stopped him. We'll just come in and back you up.
Just put your phone down, mate. Put your phone down.
At this moment in time, lads, you're detained for a search
under section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Give me that one up, pal.
A quick search turns up a large quantity of a Class C drug -
diazepam - in the boot and Class B cannabis in the car.
The passenger is the suspect Mick and Paul have been looking for.
Just stand here. I'll give you a pat-down, mate.
Is there owt else on you you shouldn't have?
-Keep your hands out your pockets.
-I'm just seeing...
Keep your hands out your pockets.
Listen, listen, you are also under arrest on suspicion of possession
of a Class B drug as well, mate, all right? This time.
'We've been wanting to get hold of this guy for some time.'
Owt else on you? Any phones or owt? Owt sharp?
You know through experience that, if you do catch them red-handed,
they are going to really struggle to be able to get out of it at court.
The two suspects are taken to custody.
Sit back there.
But this investigation doesn't end here.
At Harrogate police station, Tim Wilson of the Road Crime Team
searches the Astra for further evidence.
Ominously, Tim finds a potential weapon.
Obviously, if they are found with this,
they can be arrested for an offensive weapon.
To negate this, what they do is they carry a baseball around
and a baseball mitt. So if they're stopped, they just say,
"Well, I'm into my baseball
"and that's why I have it in the boot, ready to go."
The large bag of diazepam is most likely
what the suspects were picking up in Leeds.
It is a rare find.
Fewer than 150 diazepam seizures are made each year in England and Wales.
They've got about 2,500 tablets there in total of diazepam.
It's a Class C drug.
It sort of relaxes people, calms them down, takes away a bit of pain.
The only way you can really get it is by prescription through a doctor.
It is a controlled drug.
So it could be that they've been stolen from a chemist in a burglary
or something like that and then it's sold on on the black market.
The police already have enough to charge the men
but they need to find their hideout.
One of the suspects is insisting he is of no fixed abode.
But the police have intelligence suggesting
he's living on a caravan site near Harrogate.
Tim and fellow Road Crime Team officer James Duffy
run the numberplates of the cars on site
through the Police National Computer.
You can run vehicles through it, you can run people through it.
Every vehicle is on there
and it will tell you who the insured person is,
who the registered keeper is and where they're from.
One of the cars is registered to the passenger in the car.
They've found the caravan they're looking for.
This caravan comes back to him,
so we're just getting 18 authority off the inspector.
We're going to go in and search,
so it looks like we've found where he's living.
Let's just hope there's something that he's got to hide from us inside
and make it a really good result.
Clearance to enter the caravan comes through.
And James does the honours.
He's a lot skinnier than me and slinkier than me.
I'm not the fattest lad in t'world,
but he's definitely skinnier than me to fit through that gap.
-How am I going to do this?
-Side on, mate. Side on.
Entry is gained.
The caravan is littered with incriminating evidence.
There is about £200 worth of cannabis there
if you separated it out and put it into individual deals.
It's really strong stuff as well.
It's really, really strong.
So there are just some individual separate Ziploc bags.
I've just picked that Ziploc right out
and it's a set of digital measuring scales.
People use all sorts of ways of hiding stuff
to make it look like they're not up to no good.
Everywhere you look, there's a bit more.
Although the officers are sure the evidence secured this evening
amounts to the suspect being more than just a drug user,
the Crown Prosecution Service will decide
if there is a case to charge him with drug dealing.
The drug scene has definitely changed since I've joined.
An ever-increasing trend that we're finding now
is that people using drugs
because their availability is maybe a bit more than it used to be.
I think it would be misleading
if we said that we'd ever get rid of drugs
cos there's always going to be a problem, whatever it is.
We just try to tackle it the best we can.
Ten miles south, near Selby, traffic cop Julian Pearson is in the middle
of dealing with an incident involving Britain's most popular drug, alcohol.
Taking this drug is legal,
but being behind the wheel of a car under its influence is not.
There's an offence in the UK of being drunk in charge of a car.
OK, if you are sat in the driving seat, keys in the ignition,
which they are, that is an offence. That's a crime.
Just as Julian runs his checks on the driver, a call comes in.
The incident is 25 miles away.
At this time of night,
Julian is the nearest Senior Investigating Officer.
It's up to force control to juggle their available resources.
It's a cliche, but it is a very thin blue line,
especially in a county as large as North Yorkshire.
We cover a vast area.
You've only got a certain amount of officers
and you can get jobs coming in and coming in.
It's that difficulty of deciding
who you're going to send where and when.
Yeah, ten-four. I'm with a car in a car park in Selby, near Sainsbury's.
Can you get a beat unit to come down?
Part of my role as a sergeant on traffic is to attend
serious, fatal and potential road traffic collisions.
So I had to find somebody to take over in Selby to attend the scene.
I need to go to a fatal in Scarborough,
that's why I've got to bugger off.
-Sat with the keys, is he?
-The keys are in the ignition, yeah.
As Julian makes the 25-mile journey east
to the scene of the accident, he has a lot to take in.
There's a lot of planning and a lot of thinking involved en route.
There's a lot of information coming over the radio,
which I'm listening to.
There are a lot of decisions being made,
which I have to be responsible for.
There's only so much you can do until you physically get there
because what you are told over the radio isn't always
what you're presented with when you arrive.
Hi, Dave. Are you all right?
Stink of diesel, isn't there?
Is he dead?
Julian is now the senior officer on the scene.
His first priority is what has happened to the people involved.
The medical teams have pronounced the driver dead on arrival.
Three passengers have survived.
Who's gone to get a statement off him?
I needed to be absolutely, absolutely,
100% sure that he was the driver.
We've dealt with a job in York many years ago, where they moved
the deceased into the driving seat to make it look like
the dead person was the driver when actually it wasn't the case.
When you actually looked in the car and the way the car was situated,
there was no way that he could have been put in that position
in the timeframe,
so I was absolutely satisfied that he was the driver.
The priority is to ascertain who the driver is
so we can let his family know what's happened
and then obviously look at gathering the evidence.
The three passengers have already been taken to York District Hospital.
They've all gone down to YDH.
I need somebody from York to meet them down at YDH
to obtain details and get some condition updates.
What we need from them is identification of the driver,
obviously he's deceased.
With nothing more to be done for the victims,
Julian's priority becomes preserving evidence at the scene.
Jobs like this, as you can see, are a logistical nightmare
because you've got a main arterial route through the county.
To make this scene safe for everybody working here,
you've got to make sure all the road closures are put in place.
And, until that's done, we can't work safely.
Julian works with Force Control to manage the road closure.
We rely heavily on the control rooms, who have the mapping systems.
So they look and they are normally very good in looking
at which roads need to be closed, where we can send diversions.
Your low bridges, your narrow roads,
your weight limits for lorries, coaches, all those types of things.
The A64 is the main road from York to Scarborough.
Closing it will cause long diversions.
Not a decision we take lightly.
At the same time, we need to be able to manage a scene.
We're not going to just let anybody walk through that crime scene
until we've got all the evidence that we need from it
and we're able to then free that road.
We're mindful about the effect it can have.
People just need to understand that if we are closing a road,
we're doing it for a reason.
Julian gathers information from the first officers on the scene
to build a picture of what has happened here.
The initial account I got off the taxi driver
who was driving the two firefighters was that he was tanking...
..up the carriageway.
Overtaken them on the hill and he's hit the central reservation,
at which point he's flipped on the brow and he's ended up here.
The marks on the road and crash barrier
back up the witness statement.
-You can see the disturbance starting here.
-See the gauge?
I think we measured it six... six or seven posts from here.
That's going to be about right, Dave.
-If you shine the dragon back up.
-That's when he started to lift off.
..rolling wheel, can't you?
It's just, it's speed, isn't it?
Julian has done all he can.
The police now need the Collision Investigation Team to arrive
for a full forensic examination of the scene.
15 miles south-east on the A59,
close partners James Duffy and Tim Wilson
from the Road Crime Team are entering York.
They've been assigned to an anti-drugs operation in the city.
You know, we are best of friends
and I've been on holiday with Jim, you know,
when we've got time off, me and my missus and him and his missus,
we'll go for meals, so you do get a bond
because you spend more time with people you work with sometimes
than you do at home with your family, so...
You know, in this job, you really do have to trust each other
because your mate could make the difference
between you getting home that night or not.
We're just heading to the York area.
There's been a lot of complaints in the community
in relation to drug users
attending the area and purchasing drugs.
For all its upmarket tourist charm,
York is not immune to drug-related crime.
Like any city, York's got its drug problems
and we do come across a lot of drugs
in the day-to-day process of what we do.
I'd say a good...probably more than 50% of our work is drugs-related.
A specialist police surveillance unit is watching a house
in a well-to-do area suspected of drug dealing.
The surveillance team will report any cars leaving the premises.
James and Tim will stop them to search for drugs bought at the house.
We're going to head there, identify any vehicles that may be
coming away from the area that may have purchased drugs
and obviously stop and carry out any searches on those vehicles.
As the police approach the area, the first report comes in.
They need to move fast to intercept the car,
or it will disappear into the city.
It's half seven at night in York on a Friday night,
it's busy, they're quite narrow streets in the area it's happening,
so it won't be easy but we'll do as best to try and locate this vehicle.
James and Tim head for a crossroads
where they anticipate the Volkswagen will pass.
There it is.
All right, Andy.
X-ray, Sierra, Whisky, we've got contact, contact, contact.
It's crucial they don't stop the car too close to the house
in case the driver realises the police are watching it
and warns the suspected dealer.
We're just going to try and make a bit of ground on it
and get it stopped.
Obviously without spooking it too much.
We don't want to stop someone going away from an address
and then they put a call in because it might tip someone off
and it might just be long enough for them to start flushing drugs away
or disposing of evidence.
Stampy, we're at Crichton Avenue at the moment. Two for cover.
Without warning, the car pulls over.
James and Tim have no choice to make their move.
Ey up, pal, are you all right?
Just grab a seat back in the car, mate.
Vehicle stopped, Crichton Avenue.
Is it your vehicle?
Do us a favour, mate, just put... All right.
Just put your keys on top, mate.
Have you got some ID on you, mate?
What's your name?
Tim gives the driver the impression they're stopping him
for a routine insurance check.
How are you insured on the vehicle?
All right, you got it with you?
All right, no worries, mate.
Have you got any other vehicles that are on that policy?
'As soon as we approached the car,
'we could see that there was quite a lot of cash on the front seat.
'All in £10 and £20 notes.'
And it's a real unusual way to carry your cash,
so straight away we start thinking,
"Has this car been involved in dropping off drugs?"
Jim runs a check on the driver for previous convictions.
Hub, can you run me a PNC person check with this vehicle, please?
That's received, mate, thank you.
'As soon as you start hearing things,
'it puts you on edge that little bit more, I think,
'because you know what they're capable of.'
It lets you know that you're dealing with a proper mister
and perhaps not someone that's just occasionally using a bit of cocaine.
Yeah, no problem, mate.
The officers use their earpieces to communicate
without the driver hearing.
Tim, if you are receiving, he is well known.
He's currently on bail for all sorts of stuff.
If you get told somebody's violent, then you risk assess that
and you don't know what he's capable of.
So somebody could be nice to you and change like that.
Once you get that information, you then build a picture of who
that person is, what they're about and what they're into
and then you make an assessment on how you're going to deal with that.
To prove that drugs are being dealt from the house,
James and Tim would need to find drugs
bought from the premises in the car.
But is this driver a buyer or a supplier?
It might be that we conduct a search
but it's looking how he fits into the picture in that area.
It could be that he's somebody that supplies drugs or it could be
that he's somebody that purchases but with that amount of cash,
I'd have thought he's the other side of it.
Normally, we'd search a car like that straight away.
Drugs intelligence held, large quantity of cash
but we then have to tread really carefully
because, if we start looking at turning this lad over,
it could blow out the rest of the operation.
James makes a call to the surveillance unit watching the house.
He's got probably 500 to 800 quid in cash on him
straight away in his hand.
I've got more than enough grounds here to turn him over,
it's just whether it affects what you're doing.
That's received, mate, I'll discuss it with Tim.
The decision comes down to me and Tim.
We're the ones that are on the ground,
we're the ones that got him stopped
and ultimately we make the decision whether we search him or not.
While Tim keeps up the cover of checking the driver's insurance...
No worries, mate, just check you through
and then we can do the rest in a minute.
..James updates him on the situation.
-I have spoken to
He thinks it's properly more likely that this lad's delivered some gear.
It would probably be preferable that we wait for another one
that comes along that we think's a user that's purchased
and he's going to have something that can lead on to a warrant.
I'll really be guided by you.
The pressure is on to make a snap call.
The whole operation rests on what James and Tim do now.
There's a tactical decision to be made there.
And it goes against the grain of what we do day in, day out
because that car would be searched every time we stopped it
but if we were to arrest him, would we really get a conviction?
I'm not so sure.
He's saying he's got Tradewise insurance, mate,
that's how he's covered on it
but if you're happy with insurance, then I am.
Yeah, received, mate, are you happy to let it run?
OK, mate, we'll go with that.
My mate's happy, mate. Have a good day.
They can't be sure they'll find the drugs they need to make the bust,
so, for the good of the operation, they let this one go.
Yeah, it's a bit of tactics, really.
Ultimately we're looking for people that have purchased.
If we start turning over cars and searching them tonight,
word soon gets round, even in a big place like York
and then that could blow the operation.
A difficult call but I think the right call, really.
Let him run.
The stakeout at the drug house continues,
and James and Tim now have to wait for another suspected buyer
to leave the premises.
30 miles east, Julian Pearson is dealing with
the aftermath of a fatal crash on the A64.
The driver involved has died
and three survivors have been rushed to hospital.
Senior Collision Investigator Dave Foster has arrived
to take over the forensic examination.
Each of the 43 police districts in England and Wales has
a collision investigation unit, who attend every fatal crash in the UK.
Dave has been dealing with the aftermath
of these tragic events for 15 years.
Each one of those brings with it a whole...
..sequence of events and family upset and anguish and pain,
and ultimately, at the end of that,
people want to know, essentially, "How did this happen?"
It's one of those things. It's a job that needs doing.
I love the science and the physics of what goes on, so...
..it was right up my alley.
If a job CAN be right up your alley
where you're dealing with death and destruction!
Dave marks out the path of the car before and after impact.
Gradually, a picture begins to emerge.
Everything will be recorded in...
What we've found so far
is the vehicle's left the tarmac road surface
and hit the central barrier further down the hill.
It's then hit a separate part of the crash barrier...
..which has then caused it...
it would appear, certainly at this stage, to roll over onto its roof.
It was quite apparent that...
excess speed or high speed was going to play a part.
The distance that was covered by the vehicle
once it had already lost control
to where it had come to a stop was significant.
It was round about 250 metres or so.
And as it's been on its roof, travelling up the hill,
it's rotated, as well, so...
In doing so, all these scratches and gouges on the road surface...
So we can then track its path up to where it's come to rest,
which is just in front of the sign.
That indicates that the vehicle was travelling at high speed
and an order of magnitude that's approaching 100mph.
Dave has done all he can at the scene.
His investigation will continue
when the car has been brought back to base.
But as the car is lifted onto the recovery truck,
something falls onto the road.
It could be key to understanding what has happened tonight.
I'm going to say it's a Class A drug of some description.
Could be cocaine or speed.
The search for the cause of this tragic incident
has now taken on a new dimension - drugs.
12 miles away, in York,
drugs are already the focus of James and Tim's night.
They're still working to bust a suspected drug house
near York city centre being watched by a police surveillance unit.
To secure a conviction,
they need to stop somebody leaving the house who has purchased drugs.
MESSAGE OVER RADIO
Word comes in that a car is just leaving.
Received, thank you.
James and Tim are lying in wait in an unmarked car.
'If you're sat waiting for a car to come past,
'you'll often say, "The adrenaline's going now."
'It's a fantastic feeling.'
And I suppose it's why we do what we do.
They easily get onto the Audi's tail.
Stampy, offside indication towards the city.
We're going to stop the vehicle, speak to the occupants
and establish why they've been in the area.
And, obviously, if grounds exist, then we'll conduct a search on them.
The officers can't stop the car too soon
in case the surveillance operation on the drugs house is exposed.
They call in another patrol car to provide backup.
We're nearside lane to Stampy. Lord Mayor's Walk.
If you could come towards and support me, just in case he goes...
The Audi is driving erratically.
He's done a bit of weaving,
as if he was going to go on t'nearside lane
and then he's gone offside.
He's changing all over t'place here.
And it runs a red light.
It's the opportunity they've been waiting for.
We're on Monkgate, mate. He's gone through a red,
so we've got a good reason to stop him.
At first, the Audi ignores the cops' signal to stop.
Stay towards, mate. He's not stopping at t'minute.
'It's always a tense moment when they fail to stop.'
He's pulling up now, Heworth Green.
'And then, when they pull over, your thoughts turn to...
' "What's he tried to hide?" '
Because nobody takes that long to stop.
-What's all that about, pal?
Just turn your engine off. Pass me your keys.
Get your hands here. Give me your hands.
You've been all over t'place.
You've just gone straight through a red light.
You're not, you're all over t'joint.
-I'm all over t'joint?
You're detained at this time, mate.
You're detained under Section 23, Misuse of Drugs Act,
cos I believe you might have summat in the vehicle you shouldn't
and you look like you've had summat.
'You can see that he's quite sweaty, you can tell by his eyes
'and the way his pupils are real paranoid, shying away.'
He's obviously taken some sort of gear.
Just open t'doors for us, pal.
What have you taken, mate? What have you had?
-I haven't had anything.
-The other one, please.
Backup arrives, letting Tim search the car
and update the team watching the drug house.
It's just for your info. We've got this vehicle stopped.
Lad's all over t'place. He's obviously had summat.
It's took a while. We thought he were going,
so it might be he's necked it, but definitely on summat.
There's evidence of previous drug use in the car.
He's got a methadone bottle in the thing, but it's empty.
-Whose is the methadone bottle? Is that yours?
Methadone suggests that he's a user of Class A drugs,
because the methadone is prescribed to them
and used to try and take them away from their drug use.
He looks really under the influence. However, he's real...
His actions are real fast, suggesting he's perhaps had
something that speeds up his reactions and such,
which is usually going to be a Class A, something like cocaine.
At the Force Control Room,
news comes through that the police have raided the drugs house.
Superb. I love it when a plan comes together.
But James and Tim still haven't found any drugs on the driver
to connect him to the bust at the house,
so they take him in for further searching.
Sit in there. Just be mindful...
Tim sits in the back
to make sure the driver doesn't dispose of any evidence.
-Are you working at the minute?
-No, I don't work.
-Where's the car from?
It's yours? How have you managed that?
-Oh, and inheritance money?
All right, mate. Sorry to hear that.
We've got a genuine interest in the people we're dealing with.
They're not just people we lock up.
He struck me as a very troubled man.
He was unemployed, his mum had obviously died.
He's clearly unhappy with his life.
He was very downbeaten. It was sad to see.
-Is she going to be worried?
You been arrested before?
I'm not trying to catch you out or owt,
I'm just being the person talking to you, seeing how things are.
We all go through difficulties, don't we?
'Some people, you know, they use recreational drugs.'
And that's a choice they make.
But there's some people that have gone down that route that,
you know, has been because of a reason,
because of bereavement or, you know, because of some reason
that's caused them to feel so down and so low in life
that they use drugs.
Growing up, you know, I lived on a council estate.
I've seen people that have sort of gone one way,
because of my background, gone one way and gone down that hill,
but there's a story behind everything.
At the station, the surveillance unit that raided the drug house
have recovered a large haul.
As you can see, there's a large quantity of white powder there,
a large quantity there and then, obviously,
a couple of small quantities of what looks like cocaine.
A really good result and a really decent quantity
of drugs taken off the streets.
Cocaine is the most commonly seized Class A drug in Britain.
Over three tonnes are impounded each year.
But a strip search of the driver still finds nothing
to connect him to the drugs found at the house.
A deeper search of the car is the last chance for the police.
'You can't beat a drugs dog.'
When you're looking for tiny little wraps of drugs, it's impossible.
There's that many places they could be hidden,
and you can't rip everyone's car apart,
whereas you can stick a dog in and, if it's in there, they'll find it.
They're just absolutely incredible.
A sniffer dog's sense of smell
is around 40 times more sensitive than a human's.
Sure enough, the dog comes up with a bag of cocaine.
A Class A drug, obviously, that's been found.
It looks like it's been well secreted within the seat lining.
So it's a good find by the dog.
Come on, then!
'You can do t'best you can, but you can't beat a dog.'
It's not a large haul but potentially very important
in proving the drugs found at the house were being sold.
If they say that's for their own use,
we've got somebody potentially coming away from that area
with what looks like a deal on them
for them potentially being dealt with.
Now, forensically we might be able to link that then
back to the people that we suspect are dealing.
So it's definitely a good result and it's one that we're pleased with.
The cocaine found tonight is just one of 500 drug seizures
British police make every 24 hours.
Most of these seizures lead to possession or supply charges.
But some are connected to cases far more tragic.
In Thirsk, the car involved in the fatal accident on the A64
has been recovered for examination.
Cocaine found at the scene means that the death could be drug-related.
But before the car can be searched for any more drugs,
Senior Collision Investigator Dave Foster needs to determine
if mechanical faults played any part.
Just about every panel on the car has suffered some sort of damage.
This is indicative... the damage itself,
taken together with the data from the scene,
is indicative of a high-speed collision.
What we're looking at there
is almost like a process of elimination.
We're going to examine the condition of the tyres,
operability of the brakes, the steering,
was there anything wrong with the suspension?
Where that's all going towards
is to put a report together for the coroner
so that he can then determine what the cause of death was.
And he has four questions to answer -
who the deceased was, how,
why and when he came about his death.
The examination of the car rules out any technical fault
with the vehicle.
Generally, most vehicles - or most crashes - occur
because of something that the driver either has or hasn't done
rather than something that's gone wrong with the vehicle.
The vast majority is driver error.
Even for a collision investigator with 15 years' experience,
there's no escaping the tragedy inherent in the job.
The mechanical side of the crash is, you know, fairly easy.
But when you see all of the clothing and...
..the everyday occurrence of people living their lives
and it's here in this, um...
..desperate condition following this crash, then, yeah, you, er...
..of course you think about the occupants of the vehicle, you know,
what they must have been going through as this collision ensued.
We were in touch with the family for quite a while
after that particular accident.
You know, you're losing someone that you love.
The circumstances were easily explained,
but the loss to the family, it was raw.
To complete his work,
Dave needs to determine the speed of the collision
and whether the road condition played a part.
This is a laser scanner. Essentially, what it does
is it fires out a laser 122,000 times a second,
and the light returns and it measures that return
and creates millions of points
and we have what is called a points cloud.
The laser scanner lets Dave construct a 3-D image of the crash scene.
So what we're looking at here is the A64 at Whitwell Hill
and tracking the tyre marks left by the Mercedes as it left the road
before it struck the barrier in this area here.
And then, ahead of that, the car collided with the concrete end ramp.
That ripped the floor out from the vehicle and caused the damage
and the serious injuries, probably the fatal injuries, to the driver.
And from this point onwards,
the car effectively flipped onto its roof
and continued for quite some distance further
before coming to a stop out of sight and over the hill crest.
The reconstruction confirms
Dave's estimations of the speed of the crash.
He was driving at high speed. Very high speed.
In the region of 90 to 100mph.
And there's nothing to suggest there were any external factors
to cause the collision.
The road surface was in a good condition,
the vehicle itself was fine, good mechanical order.
And as we start to eliminate all these other factors,
we're left with the driver as being the cause of the accident,
for want of a better term.
I've only ever come across a non-driver event
on two or three occasions in 15 years of detailed analysis.
And it only takes a momentary lapse
for something catastrophic to happen.
With all other reasons for the crash ruled out,
the next line of inquiry will be the driver's condition
and whether the drugs found at the scene played a part.
60 miles north-east, near Scarborough,
traffic cops Mark Gonella and Paul Moon are on traffic patrol.
Paul needs to return to base to collect a vital piece of police kit.
Can we go to Eastfield, mate, please?
I need to pick my cuffs up. Haven't got any cuffs.
I've got a spare set in me bag, but they're the FlexiCuffs.
-Have you still got a pair of them?
It shows my age, that, doesn't it?
Paul and I have worked together since 2000,
since I transferred to this force.
I've spent more time with Paul than I have with my own children.
So I've got to say that I know him very well!
'You bounce off each other.'
Are they edged in a material?
Yeah, fluffy ones, yeah!
-In toy shops.
-No, if you need to talk about it...!
-Special toy shops!
Uncle Paul, do you need to talk about it?
We're like chalk and cheese. Totally opposites.
When I go to a job, I'm double crew with Mark.
I think we've got a really, really good working partnership.
You know what? I always say this to people, which makes me chuckle.
They always say, "Huh, these are uncomfortable!"
And I go, "They're not designed for comfort.
"If they were designed for comfort, they'd have fluffy bits on them."
But before they can return for the cuffs,
a nearby unit calls for assistance with a dangerous driver.
Two colleagues travelling along the A64,
they've got a prisoner on board
and there's a car in front of them which is all over the road.
They think the driver is affected by drink or drugs.
Because they've got one on board, they don't want to try and stop it.
Paul and Mark soon find the car and take over the pursuit.
It's clear the driver is not in control.
It is pretty poor, isn't it?
-Just watch there, look.
Look at that. That's a bit of lane change, isn't it?
The police hit their lights and pull the car over.
Onto the metal.
Hello there. How are you guys?
There are two women in the front and a man in the back.
Any idea why we're stopping you?
Why are you driving the way you're driving? You're all over the road!
When you were just driving down this road,
you were all over the place. Why was that?
-You don't drink?
-On any medication or anything like that?
No medication? No, OK.
-Do you have your driving licence with you, please?
'I couldn't smell any alcohol or that at all.
'But at that point I did notice that she was missing her two front teeth,
'and that's very common in people that smoke heroin.'
It takes the enamel off the front teeth,
and both the front teeth were fallen out.
Will you just jump out a minute?
I just want to breathalyse you, then we can crack on our way.
'As she got out, she walked to the back of the car,
'she had to put her hand on the rear quarter
'to steady herself from falling over.'
So that was a good giveaway that she was affected by something.
So, take a nice, deep breath
and blow nice and gentle into this until I tell you to stop.
OK? Nice, deep breath. Nice and gentle.
Blow. That's it, keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going.
That's it. Thank you.
-Why were you all over the road, then?
-I mean, it was quite worrying.
-I am tired.
-It's just we set off really late.
-And where are you going now?
-To do what, though?
-Um, my son, see my son's friend.
-Are you on any methadone or anything like that?
-But you know what I'm talking about?
'She knew what methadone was.'
It's given by a doctor, normally to help someone come off of heroin.
A lot of people, if you asked them,
wouldn't even know what sort of drug that was.
-You're not on it at the moment?
-OK. Have you taken anything else?
She was very lethargic. She wasn't answering the questions fully.
'There's all these things that are starting to build and build'
to make us think she's a drug-driver.
Do you use...drugs?
-Be honest with me, because we'll do...
-But you have used drugs before?
-Not now, no.
Right, when was the last time you took drugs?
Be honest with me.
Oh, a while back. About, oh, a month ago, two months ago.
Now, because of the manner of driving, we've followed you
and we've seen you weaving across the road, OK?
We've both got concerns that you may be affected
by something other than alcohol.
Unlike drink-driving, which can be breath-tested,
checking for the influence of drugs is more difficult.
What we're going to do is what's called a Fit test, OK?
A Field Impairment Test.
So look just straight ahead.
I'm just going to put this card to the side of your face.
I'm just going to measure the size of your pupils. Look straight ahead.
A Fit test, called a Field Impairment Test,
it's like the American cops, where they
get somebody to walk in a straight line,
touch their nose with their fingers, that kind of thing.
Yeah, and the other side. Just keep looking straight ahead.
OK, thank you.
'And it just shows if somebody's got balance or co-ordination
'or can follow instructions.'
When I tell you, tilt your head back slightly, close your eyes
and then, when you think 30 seconds has passed,
bring your head forward, open your eyes and say, "Stop."
OK, so... OK, begin.
If someone is using drugs,
the time perception test can indicate what that drug is.
If they're on speed, they'll be finished within 20 seconds,
whilst if they're on cannabis or something like that,
they'll count up to, I don't know, 40 seconds.
-So, how long was that?
-I would say it was 27, maybe, I don't know.
OK. No problems.
The Fit test can't prove the driver is on drugs,
but it will tell Mark and Paul
if they need to take her in for a blood test.
When I tell you,
you must raise your right foot six to eight inches
or 15 to 20 centimetres off the ground,
keeping your leg straight and your toes pointing forward
whilst counting aloud in the following manner -
1,001, 1,002 and so on - until I tell you to stop. OK?
-I can't do it.
I was falling. 1,001, 1,002...
..1,003, 1,004, 1,005...
1,006... Oh, I'm going downwards, aren't I?
-Oh, dear! You want me to go down, don't you?
-Unfortunately for you, my dear, you've failed it miserably.
Yeah. OK? I'm now arresting you on suspicion of driving a motor vehicle
-whilst unfit through drink or drugs, OK?
-Do you understand what's happening?
-You need to come with me, my dear.
Just jump in there, my dear.
I'll give you a hand to get in so you don't fall over.
Mark and Paul have no choice but to take her in for a blood test.
The man and woman left in the car are the driver's mother and son.
Well, we need to take her to the police station, all right?
And we need to get some blood samples from her.
So what we're going to do is we'll get your car with you in it
up to the police station. The decision is yours what you do there.
I think I would most probably stay with Grandma. And someone will
let you know what's happening with your daughter as soon as we can.
The elderly mother in the front, she's confused, she's upset,
she's worried about what's happening.
And you've got to try and help her, you've got to try and appease her.
For her, she's saying that her daughter does nothing wrong.
She can't understand what's going on.
So we've got a job to do, but you've got to try and make it as...
..as easy as possible for other people that are involved with it.
The van takes the driver back to the station...
Unfortunately, my dear, you've got me as company.
..while Paul and Mark drive the mother and son to nearby Scarborough.
Do you want to follow me?
Come this way.
Later, in police custody,
the driver admits to be using methadone.
-How much are you taking of that a day?
And is that supervised, or do you get it yourself
and you're allowed to take it with you?
-Um, it was unsupervised, but, um...
-When did you last have it?
A doctor has arrived to carry out a blood test.
-Do you want to come with me, please?
-Just follow me.
But there's another problem.
She did another kind of Field Impairment Test
in there for the doctor, and she failed that, as well,
and therefore he consented to taking blood off her.
He tried to take her blood, but unfortunately, because all the veins
have collapsed due to a long period of drug abuse,
he couldn't get blood. So our only option now is to take urine.
The urine sample shows the driver
is under the influence of heroin and cocaine.
She is on illegal drugs,
and yet she was quite willing to put her mum's life
and her son's life in danger.
'There's no excuse for it. She's only got herself to blame.'
I've got no sympathy for anybody that takes drugs
and drives a motor vehicle on the road.
They're just putting everybody's lives at risk.
You see the consequences of their actions.
You've got to deal with the families, tell them that loved ones
have been killed, and you see the grieving that the families
go through because they've lost their loved one.
And I tell you what, it's just horrendous and I hate it.
Everybody thinks, "Oh, it won't happen to me, won't happen to me,"
until it does happen, and then it just tears lives apart.
It's estimated that drug-driving
is responsible for 200 deaths each year on Britain's roads.
40 miles away, in Thirsk,
the investigation into whether drugs played a role
in the fatal accident on the A64 is approaching its conclusion.
A forensic reconstruction has ruled out
anything other than driver error for the collision.
A bag of cocaine found at the crash scene means North Yorkshire's
dedicated search team, led by Mike Pickersgill,
have been called in to go over the car for more evidence.
The accident investigation team
believe there may have been drugs in the vehicle.
I've got a team here of licensed, search-trained officers,
and they will search this vehicle systematically
and take as long as it takes to see if there are drugs in the vehicle.
Our role is to recover evidence,
and it's what could have caused the factor for the driver to have driven
the way he did, which has resulted in a nasty, serious accident.
Mike's team are a specialist unit North Yorkshire's police
can call on to conduct fine-detail searches of potential crime scenes.
We search a lot of vehicles. This is our bread and butter.
These search officers like nothing more than
getting right into the nuts and bolts of the vehicle
and going down to the sort of very, very concealed areas,
because people will secrete items in places you wouldn't expect.
But these guys will find it if it's there.
The damage to the car has jammed the boot shut.
The problem we've got here is,
due to the severe impact of the vehicle during the crash,
we're now in difficulty getting into the boot.
It's just not looking in the boot,
there's panels in there, there's voids within the boot area.
So, again, if there's drugs in there,
they could well be hidden within that boot area.
Fire-brigade officers are called to prise open the boot.
Nothing is found.
But the search isn't complete
until every last square inch is combed through.
Licensed, search-trained officers
will search down to a Sim Card level.
You're looking at something the size of your fingernail.
We don't leave any stone unturned and don't get complacent,
because you will find something at the moment
when you think you've nearly finished the search.
So if there is anything there, genuinely we will find it.
At last, the team finds what it was brought in to unearth.
This officer's found a quantity of controlled drugs
within a sunglasses case, which was the purpose of this search.
There's six to eight small bags of white powder
which looks to me like cocaine.
We believe this road traffic accident
has possibly got an influence with drugs to it,
and there's the evidence to suggest the search was justified
in what we're looking for.
That's come from under the rear seat within the sunglasses case.
So a good find.
All the police investigations into the crash are now finished.
Their conclusions support what the coroner's report has now found,
that the dead driver was under the influence of drugs.
For Julian Pearson, the senior officer at the scene of the crash,
it's another example of a key problem on Britain's roads.
I think drug-driving is actually worse now than drink-driving.
Drink-driving has become socially unacceptable.
Drugs, however, is a different kettle of fish.
People don't talk about drugs, do they?
Businessmen, ladies, whatever,
doing a few lines of coke at a party...
and these people still think
it's acceptable to get in a car and drive.
You can drive down the road at 100mph, as this chap's done
and killed himself and seriously injured his occupants.
I think the public don't realise how important it is.
At an inquest into the death of the driver
who crashed on the A64 near Malton,
the coroner passed a verdict of accidental death.
Police confirmed the driver
was under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the crash.
No action was taken against the driver
who Julian Pearson suspected of being drunk in charge.
A test confirmed the erratic female driver
who failed the roadside drug impairment test
was driving under the influence of cocaine and heroin.
At court, she pleaded guilty
to driving whilst being unfit through drugs.
She was banned from driving for one year and fined £230.
The Audi driver who visited the suspected dealer's house in York
pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine
and received a six-month conditional discharge.
A blood test confirmed a variety of Class A and Class B drugs
in the driver's system at the time of his arrest.
And the two men caught with nearly 2,000 diazepam tablets
pleaded guilty to possession and received a total of £800 in fines.
Drugs and drug driving have become a major challenge for North Yorkshire's traffic cops.
Last year, police made nearly 200,000 drugs seizures in England and Wales. In North Yorkshire, seizures were at a ten-year high. In this episode, whilst North Yorkshire's specialist road crime team targets drug deals in transit, a full-scale investigation unfolds in the aftermath of a high-speed crash on one of the county's fast rural dual carriageways. It becomes clear that speed may not have been the only contributory factor to the crash, which resulted in the death of the driver.
Dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy left behind by drivers too drugged to drive has become all part of the traffic cops' daily routine.