Essex police arrest 54 during three week anti-drug operation

The burglars took drills, airguns, a wallet and keys from the home in Hitcham Picture: ARCHANT

The burglars took drills, airguns, a wallet and keys from the home in Hitcham Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant � 2005

Drugs, cash and weapons have been seized as 54 people are arrested as part of a three-week crackdown on drugs gangs in North Essex.

Between March 4 and 24, the police took part in Operation Smuggler targeting organised drugs crime in Colchester and Tendring.

Officers arrested 23 people in Colchester and carried out four warrants under the Misuse of Drugs Acts. In Tendring, 31 were arrested and officers carried out nine raids.

By using a mixture of tactics, including overt and covert patrols, executing warrants and using stop and search powers, officers tightened up on gang-related crime.

Officers also worked with their partners to carry out weapons sweeps looking for hidden weapons, educating children and young people about gang-related crime, and engaging with people who are vulnerable to being exploited by such gangs.

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We also spoke to more than 600 residents about our work and obtained more than 160 pieces of information.

Detective Superintendent Leighton Hammett said: “Operation Smuggler was part of our response to knife crime linked to the dealing of drugs and the carrying of weapons in Colchester and Tendring.

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“Over three weeks, our community policing teams and Op Raptor team worked with specialist officers from across the force and our partners to target gangs who deal drugs, carry weapons and commit violence.

“We targeted criminals using the road and rail networks, had officers on high visibility and covert patrols, and executed search warrants at addresses where drug dealing was suspected.

“We also used information we gained from the public and our enquiries to target areas linked to drug dealing. We conducted 136 stop and searches, resulting in 46 people being dealt with for offences, including possession of knives and drugs.

“Our work to tackle violent crime will not cease, but tackling drug and gang-related crime involves more than just enforcement.

“It is a community responsibility, which is why we work with other organisations to educate people, and support those who are vulnerable to being exploited, to try and prevent such crimes happening in the first place.

“Information is also vitally important, so if you know anyone who is involved or see any suspicious behaviour, please call us.”

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