Cops seize �6m drug haul in crackdown

DRUGS with a street value of up to �6million have been seized in two years during a crackdown in Ipswich on out-of-town dealers.

DRUGS with a street value of up to �6million have been seized in two years during a crackdown in Ipswich on out-of-town dealers.

Through Operation Academy, which began in January 2007, police are waging war on those who have travelled from London and further afield to sell cocaine, heroin and other potentially lethal drugs.

Up to the end of last month officers had made 496 arrests for 333 offences during the crackdown. A further 111 suspects have been detained for drugs searches during the two-year period.

The maximum street value of all the drugs seized is �6,089,858. Among the haul is heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, cannabis, ecstasy and amphetamines.

Much of the value associated with the seizures has come from raids on a number of cannabis factories, set up in domestic premises.

Also confiscated during Operation Academy have been mobile phones, seven cars, digital cameras, 11 knives, two BB guns and a self-loading pistol. Numerous items of stolen property have also been recovered.

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Detective chief inspector Dave Cutler, crime manager for Ipswich, said: “At the moment we are getting a really large number of drug dealers coming into Ipswich from the London area. We are still liaising with the London boroughs which affect us most as to who is coming up and how to best target them.

“Drugs ruin lives. Those people who become addicted have to fund those addictions. The only way to fund that habit is through crime.

“There are several strong links to drug taking. If you can reduce the number of dealers coming in and at the same time make inroads into people's addictions then, over time, that should start to change the make up and supply in the Ipswich area.

“We need to stop these people because they bring crime with them and prey on vulnerable people. We just don't want them.”

Det Ch Insp Cutler, who only took over his post last month, was also keen to attribute the operation's ongoing success to his predecessors.

He said: “It's those people who put in the long, hard work over the past couple of years who should take the credit for it.”