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North Essex: Almost 30 people arrested in huge Class A drugs investigation

11:18 25 July 2014

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Police in north Essex arrested 28 people and seized more than 800 wraps of suspected Class A drugs as part of Operation Saturn.

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The operation, which began in May, has targeted suspected criminal gangs who travel into the area from outside the county.

The dedicated team was put together to bring down the groups by disrupting their drug dealing activity on the streets and in properties across the North Local Policing Area.

As well as the suspected Class A drugs – including crack cocaine and heroin, officers have also seized 13 quantities of what is believed to be cannabis and a large amount of suspected Methadone.

A total of 18 search warrants have been executed in the past weeks and 20 people currently remain on police bail after being arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply.

Two suspects have been charged with supply, one with possession of cocaine and one with possession of a controlled drug.

A further 31 suspects have also been stopped and searched in relation to possible drugs activity.

In one such case in Clacton it is alleged that a man was found to be in possession of 13 suspected wraps of class A drugs. He was arrested for possession with intent to supply and is currently on bail.

Among the locations to have been subject to warrants so far are Belle Court and Beach Road in Clacton; East Hill and Springham Drive in Colchester; Bramwoods Road, Haig Court, Parklands Way and Tasman Court in Chelmsford; Baileybridge Road and Templar Road in Braintree and Normandy Avenue in Burnham on Crouch.

Detective chief inspector John Ross said: “We have definitely made a dent in the supply of drugs in north Essex and in large part this is down to information from members of the public.

“As a result, these gangs are finding it harder to operate in our towns and they know they are not welcome.

“We also know these people are involved in violence such as street robbery and we have seen a significant reduction in this offence over the past six weeks in Colchester, Braintree and Chelmsford.

“If anyone suspects that drug dealing is taking place in their neighbourhoods please call us and we will investigate.”

Op Saturn was set up by chief superintendent Carl O’Malley, the area commander for north Essex, who said he was pleased with the impact of the team so far.

“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,” he said.

“I am not willing to tolerate the culture and behaviour of these people. I would urge members of our community to continue to come forward and tell us about what they either know or suspect is happening.

“It is this information that is making 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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