STOLEN gift cards worth thousands of pounds have been recovered following a police drug raid.

Officers of the Lower Stratton neighbourhood policing team burst into a house in Brain Court at 8.10am yesterday and found the occupant still asleep.

A search revealed stacks of gift cards for retailers such as iTunes, B&Q, Marks and Spencer and HMV laid out on a table.

In total 131 cards, in denominations ranging from £10 to £50, were recovered and are estimated to be worth £2,000.

Police also found drugs paraphernalia and arrested a 35-year-old man who has now been taken to Gablecross Police Station.

PC Frank Key, the community beat manager for the area, warned members of the public to be wary of buying gift cards from anyone other than reputable retailers.

He said: “We obtained a drugs warrant for the address in response to community intelligence and a team of officers and a dog unit raided the house just after 8am.

“Although no drugs were found, paraphernalia was recovered. Various gift cards were located that are strongly suspected of being stolen.

“They are genuine cards of the like you would see on racks in the supermarkets and they were in neat little piles, as if they were ready to be taken out and sold on the black market.

“They are for stores like B&Q, iTunes, M&S and HMV and are anything up to £50 – if they were activated they could have been worth up to £2,000.

There were also a large number of top-up gift cards with no values on them.

“The origin of these items will be investigated in an attempt to find where they may have been stolen from and inquiries are ongoing.”

“I would warn people who get offered cards like these in the pub or elsewhere not to entertain the people who are selling them,” he said.

“Only buy them from reputable outlets and retailers, as cards must be activated at the till in order to be of any use.”

PC Key said the raid had been successful and urged the public to continue to report anything suspicious.

He said: “It was a good result for us and anything we can do to disrupt this sort of activity in the local area is good news.

“I would thank the public for their help as they are invaluable in providing intelligence.

“I would urge them to continue to report suspicious activity to us so we can continue to act on it.”

Anyone with any information on suspicious activity should contact 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.