Drug pusher behind bars

SUFFOLK police's war on drugs has claimed another victory after a London pusher caught dealing in Ipswich was jailed for four-and-a-half years.Jackson Shabani is today behind bars after undercover cops discovered him with a stash of crack and heroin, which had a street value of up to £4,000.

SUFFOLK police's war on drugs has claimed another victory after a London pusher caught dealing in Ipswich was jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Jackson Shabani is today behind bars after undercover cops discovered him with a stash of crack and heroin, which had a street value of up to £4,000.

The 20-year-old is one of an increasing number of London-based peddlers to flock to Suffolk to sell hard drugs, many of whom, police believe, see the county as a “soft target”.

However, detective sergeant Tracey Cracknell, one of the officers who busted his illegal operation, today warned dealers that police were waiting for them.

She highlighted the success of Operation Academy, the crackdown on London dealers, which, since its launch 18 months ago, has overseen the seizure of drugs with an estimated street value of £270,000.

Ds Cracknell said: “Shabani had come to Ipswich to sell drugs.

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“Operation Academy has been running since last January and catching people like this is what it's all about.

“There are some Londoners who feel we are a soft target - they have an image of sleepy Suffolk.

“Yet we crack down hard on those who come to sell drugs and the message is clear - our justice system will give them stiff sentences.”

On January 27, community intelligence directed police to an address in St John's Road in Ipswich where they discovered Shabani, originally from Enfield but of no fixed address, and his drugs hoard.

He tried to claim to police that he had come to Ipswich not to sell drugs but to flee London where he feared for his life after two of his friends had been killed.

Ds Cracknell said: “The community intelligence is so important. It helps us to build a picture and that's when we can start targeting and making arrests.

“In this case, it has meant we have managed to get rid of another dealer.”

How can Suffolk combat the problem of drugs? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

THREE vehicles seized from criminals under government legislation were parked outside Ipswich police station to send a clear message to those profiting from breaking the law.

Almost £1 million has been seized in Suffolk in the last year under the proceeds of crime act, according to figures released Suffolk Constabulary.

And, as National Tackling Drug Week comes to an end, police today pledged to continue to pursue people who live off the proceeds of drug crimes and to recover their illegal wealth through court confiscation and forfeiture orders.

Detective sergeant Andy Gould, a specialist financial investigator, said: “The Financial Investigation Unit will continue to seek to use the powers afforded by the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002, with the intention of taking the profit out of crime in Suffolk.

“We will not only put them before the courts, we will also use the latest legislation to strip them of the ill-gotten gains they've generated from those crimes.”