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Operation Velocity aims to tackle drug dealing in Suffolk as well as protect vulnerable

PUBLISHED: 14:47 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:54 09 March 2018

Suffolk police officers during a recent raid in the county. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk police officers during a recent raid in the county. Picture: ARCHANT

Police raided three addresses in west Suffolk on Wednesday as part of Suffolk Constabulary’s operation to tackle drug dealing in the county.

Police raided three addresses in Newmarket as part of Operation Velocity. Picture: ARCHANT Police raided three addresses in Newmarket as part of Operation Velocity. Picture: ARCHANT

Drugs warrants were executed in Newmarket under Operation Velocity – which aims to combat city gangs who have established a drug market in rural towns.

Two youths – aged 15 and 16 – were arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis as part of the day of action, which is also striving to support those being exploited by the gangs.

‘County Lines’ and the supply of drugs is effectively a gang of at least three people with origins to a city location, such as London, who establish a market in local Suffolk towns such as Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft.

Mobile phones are frequently used to facilitate the drug deals by professional and experienced gangs.

Police raided three addresses in Newmarket as part of Operation Velocity. Picture: ARCHANT Police raided three addresses in Newmarket as part of Operation Velocity. Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk police says it will always target the dealers, but it stressed the importance of supporting people who have become involved in criminal activity through their vulnerabilities and may need help to escape the cycle.

Vulnerable adults and young people are frequently being used and in some cases dealers take over the property of a vulnerable person and use it as a place from which to run their drugs business - known as ‘cuckooing’.

The vulnerable could be drug users, addicts, young people, or people with mental health issues.

The force says tackling the issue with partner agencies is vital and it is engaging with a range of organisations including housing associations, local authorities, probation services, drug support agencies and charities, and children and young people’s services.

Suffolk police says Operation Velocity provides the opportunity to work together with partners at a countywide level so that there is joint impetus on addressing the problem from a long-term perspective.

Sgt Steve Duncan said: “This activity is all about us responding to offences linked to illegal drug activity as part of our on-going work with Operation Velocity.

“The force wants to ensure the county remains a hostile environment for those involved in the supply of drugs and provide reassurance to Suffolk residents.

“We will continue to pursue, disrupt and arrest those people bringing criminality or anti-social behaviour, as well as constantly gathering intelligence that members of the public provide and for which we are grateful for.

“Our local communities have an important role to play helping us.

“It is not just about enforcement – police and other partners need to educate and support those people who have found themselves in a vulnerable situation.

“We need to ensure everyone is playing their part to protect the community from drugs.”

“If you know of suspicious activity taking place in your area let us know using the 101 number and we will respond, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

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