Suffolk police operation successfully tackles London drug dealers in Ipswich
- Credit: Archant
More than £120,000 worth of Class A drugs have been removed from Ipswich streets during a police operation to tackle drug dealing.
Suffolk Constabulary has also seized more than £20,000 in cash since June 2014 and officers have made 197 arrests.
Ipswich Superintendent Kerry Cutler said the operation had been targeting drug dealers who had been travelling from London and selling drugs in Ipswich.
She added: “The results show how successful this drive has been and promotes a clear message that we want to stamp out drugs in Ipswich.
“We want to target youngsters by educating them to not become involved in the lifestyle and protect those who are vulnerable from being exploited.”
The constabulary has specifically seen 6864 wraps of Class A drugs seized (worth a street value of £68,640), 532 grams of uncut Crack and Cocaine (worth a street value £53,200) and £23,335 of cash seized.
Officers conducted more than 100 pro-active warrants.
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Police have been using legislation to their advantage with the use of Section 152 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
This allows police to apply to the courts to grant an order to detain individuals for a longer period of time in custody, in the hope that they will produce the drugs they are believed to be concealing.
Under the legislation it can be for eight days at a time. This tactic combined with others has led to one major London drug gang withdrawing from Ipswich completely.
Detective Chief Inspector of Suffolk Constabulary Barry Byford said: “We do not tolerate drug dealing in Ipswich, especially forcing vulnerable people and adolescents into doing their dirty work.
“They are not only drug dealers, they are youth exploiters as well. They are preying on people who are too frightened and afraid to speak up that their home is being used to sell drugs. This is also why we need the local community to help us to identify and come forward with information that they may have.”
Mr Byford urged people who notice any suspicious or unusual activity at a property to contact their local safer neighbourhood team or the charity Crimestoppers anonymously.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Suffolk Tim Passmore said: “The consequences of drug abuse are devastating. I fully support the Constabulary’s stance on this issue and welcome this proactive operation to target the issue. I want the message to go out loud and clear that Suffolk Constabulary is on the case and they are getting results, so watch out.”
A Crimestoppers campaign has also assisted with the success of the operation, encouraging Ipswich residents to speak up about drug dealing gangs.
This saw a series of advertising on billboards, bus shelters and phone boxes across Ipswich town centre and on platforms at Ipswich train station.
The campaign itself saw 86 pieces of actionable information about Ipswich, an increase of 16% when compared to the same period the previous year - 10 drug offence arrests were made during the campaign period.
Crimestoppers is working together with St Giles Trust to deliver further fearless workshops in schools across Suffolk in November and December this year, to inform pupils about the dangers of getting involved in gangs and youth violence. During the workshops a number of ex-gang members recount their experiences and highlight the choices open to youngsters, including giving information anonymously to Fearless.
Some notable sentencings from the operation have been a 22-year-old man from Luther Road in Ipswich who was sentenced to five years in prison on January 20, 2015.
He was arrested in June 2014 and found with over 200 wraps of crack and heroin, charged with possession with intent to supply Class A, and was also sentenced for two counts of possession with intent to supply while on remand in Norwich Prison. It comes after a targeted search was carried out by prison staff on September 25, 2014 where 125 wraps of crack cocaine and a wrap of heroin were recovered.
Another was the sentencing of a professional organised crime group on July 31, 2015 to a combined total of more than 24 years in prison.
Nine individuals who dealt drugs from addresses in London and Ipswich were charged with conspiracy to supply crack cocaine and heroin between January and April 2014.
Officers worked to disrupt the organised supply of drugs in Ipswich found that the nine were involved in bringing large quantities of crack cocaine and heroin into the town, and using the addresses of those based in Ipswich from which to run their business. Extensive intelligence analysis and investigation led to various arrests in both London and Ipswich, with drugs, cash and mobile phones being seized.
Suffolk Constabulary is working councils, housing associations, landlords, youth workers and drug rehabilitation organisations in the county to solve the issue long-term.
Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for health, said: “The success of the approach in tackling this terrible trade speaks volumes for the dedication of the partnership, and the innovative tactics used by Suffolk Constabulary.
“Seeing drug dealers for what they are as exploiters of human misery, exploiters of children and bullies towards vulnerable people, ensures we all have a part to play in making our county safer for everyone to live, work and prosper in.”
Turning Point is a registered charity that has been working closely with the police to help break the cycle of those who are addicted to drugs.
Over the last six months Turning Point has worked closely with a wide range of agencies, including family support networks, to try and deter those currently using drugs in Ipswich to start their recovery journey.