Gun And Drug Seizures Up Dramatically In 2015 file photo of the Chatham-Kent Police Service Headquarters. (Photo by Jason Viau)

The Chatham-Kent Police Intelligence Unit seized more than five times the number of illegal guns and weapons last year than it did the year before.

A total of 48 guns and weapons were recovered in 2015 compared to just nine the year before, and that has Mayor Randy Hope concerned.

“It’s an alarming number, especially when most of them were done through seizures or apprehensions, which you know we’re always concerned about” says Hope. “That’s why I asked the question ‘what type of guns were they’ and most of them were riffles, that’s a little bit of comfort, but still it’s alarming numbers.”

The unit’s year end report also detailed $3.8-million in drugs seized compared to $1.6-million the previous year, and 817 charges laid compared to 295 the previous year.

Sergeant Terry Marchand says the spike in charges can be attributed to three events in the region.

Police arrested two people in 2015 in connection with a string of residential break-ins over a three-year period, laying 83 charges. Officers also executed warrants on an alleged dog fighting ring in Tilbury, seizing 31 pitbulls, 15 guns, and equipment used to train dogs to fight, resulting in four arrests and 293 charges.

And a rash of pickup truck thefts in Wallaceburg from September to November led to the arrest of one adult and one young offender, totaling 83 charges.