Recorded drug offences in England and Wales have risen by nearly a third during lockdown, figures suggest.
Data obtained by PA news agency shows thousands more crimes linked to illegal substances were recorded by police between 23 March and 25 May compared to the same period last year.
The Metropolitan Police has said some drug dealers have started providing home deliveries during lockdown, which has made them more vulnerable to getting caught.
A previous report by Sky News found many street dealers had stopped selling drugs because police were checking more vehicles on the roads while “stay at home” advice was in place.
The 26 forces who provided data recorded a total of 25,297 drugs offences, including trafficking and possession, in the nine-week period. Between the same dates last year, 19,840 drug-related offences were recorded.
A total of 23,113 drug crimes were recorded between 20 January and 23 March this year.
The figures are despite total recorded crime dropping by a quarter in the four-week period to 10 May, according to the latest national figures from the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said: “We know some of the drug dealers, both in county lines and beyond, have adapted the way they operate. They have had to.
“There has certainly been talk of more home deliveries to people’s houses by those who are brave. That’s certainly what my local officers are telling me, that they are seeing more of that.
“People who aren’t going out are asking for the drugs to come to them. That’s putting the drug dealers more at risk and making them more obvious.”
Some dealers have been using creative ways to disguise themselves, including wearing hi-vis clothing and operating from supermarket car parks to appear like key workers, according to National Crime Agency director Lynne Owens.
Gangs expert Professor Simon Harding also said some were dressing as joggers and using fake NHS ID badges to move around freely.
Between 16 March and 20 May, Scotland Yard made 800 more drug arrests compared with the same period last year (1,431 to 2,232).
Officers also seized £22.4m worth of cash through freezing orders and confiscations – all thought to be linked to drug crime.