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Dawn raids see police swoop on 'county lines' dealers with drugs, knives and over £50k in house

PUBLISHED: 16:31 18 June 2019

The kitchen of one raided property appeared to contain bags of a Class A drug Picture: ESSEX POLICE

The kitchen of one raided property appeared to contain bags of a Class A drug Picture: ESSEX POLICE

ESSEX POLICE

A haul of weapons, drugs and £50,000 in cash were seized in a raid on a property suspected of being involved in 'county lines' drug dealing in Essex.

A bag was found in one property containing approximately £50,000 cash Picture: ESSEX POLICEA bag was found in one property containing approximately £50,000 cash Picture: ESSEX POLICE

Essex Police swooped on the property in Mary Ruck Way, Braintree, as part of its ongoing crackdown against those suspected of being involved in drug dealing.

Officers seized a haul of what is believed to be Class A drugs, a duffel bag containing approximately £50,000 in cash and a cache of knives and knuckle dusters.

Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: "Sadly in Essex we are seeing an increase in the number of violent and knife crime offences and those involved in so-called 'county lines' drug dealing gangs.

A combat knife was found in a property in Mary Ruck Way, Braintree Picture: ESSEX POLICEA combat knife was found in a property in Mary Ruck Way, Braintree Picture: ESSEX POLICE

"Although that is a pattern we are seeing nationally, here in Essex we are not prepared to take that lying down."

The raid on June 18 also targeted other properties believed to be involved in Class A drug dealing as well as those suspected of carrying knives and people wanted in connection with committing violent offences.

So far 12 people have been arrested in connection with drug-related offences and officers are continuing to target others.

Mr Harrington added: "During this crackdown we are standing shoulder to shoulder with our policing colleagues in Kent.

Police photographed wraps of a potential Class A drug found behind a sofa in a property raided on June 18 Picture: ESSEX POLICEPolice photographed wraps of a potential Class A drug found behind a sofa in a property raided on June 18 Picture: ESSEX POLICE

"We know these criminals don't see the boundaries of our two great counties - they see only the opportunity to make money, so they travel between Essex and Kent to ply their trade."

The crackdown, named Operation Zeal, is also being carried out by policing colleagues in other Eastern counties to enable both forces to tackle criminals who cross borders to commit crime.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Hooper, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, added: "Some criminals think they can carry blades on our streets, sell drugs and cause harm in our communities - they are wrong.

"Every knife carried and used and every wrap of drugs sold is potentially a life or lives torn apart."

Detective Superintendent Stuart Hooper said any drugs or knives are Detective Superintendent Stuart Hooper said any drugs or knives are "potentially lives torn apart" Picture: ESSEX POLICE

The crackdown forms part of Operation Sceptre Essex, our targeted crackdown on knife crime, which Essex Police began in April.

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