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Essex: Police launch operation targeting drug dealers

A police raid to target those suspected of supplying drugs. Photo: Angela Sharpe

A police raid to target those suspected of supplying drugs. Photo: Angela Sharpe

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Drug dealers in north Essex are to be targeted in a new police operation in a bid to tackle the illicit business which generates an estimated £13million a year.

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Operation Saturn has been launched after intelligence suggested sales of illegal drugs were generating more than £4,000 a day in each major town within the area.

A dedicated team has been put together to bring down dealers selling illegal in the North Local Policing Area, which covers the Colchester, Tendring, Braintree, Chelmsford, Maldon and Uttlesford districts.

Detectives will work closely with uniformed officers and partner agencies as part of the operation.

The new team has already seen some success after carrying a raid in Clacton last week recovered more than 300 wraps of suspected class A drugs, now awaiting forensic analysis.

Two men were arrested during the raid, a London man, 20, on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs, and a Clacton man, 33, on suspicion of possession of class B drugs. Both have been bailed pending further police enquiries.

Ch Supt Carl O’Malley, who has set up the team, said: “The aim of the operation is not only to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs to north Essex but also to tackle the associated violence these gangs can bring.

“Essex is generally a very safe place, especially for law-abiding members of the public, but we do know that violence between rivals involved in drug dealing is happening.

“Their numbers are not large but no-one in Essex should have to put up with this type of behaviour in their neighbourhoods and I want to tackle the problem head on.

“I am not willing to tolerate the culture and behaviour of these people. This operation will be intelligence-led, and we will be drawing information together from a number of sources.

“I would urge members of our community to come forward and tell us about what they either know or suspect is happening on their streets.

“It is this information that will make this operation effective - reducing the supply of drugs and the violence it can bring with it.”

Anyone with information about drug dealing or the gangs involved in north Essex can contact the team at Braintree Police Station on 101 or ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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