Police arrest eight in drug raids

SUSPECTED drug dealers have been dealt a stinging blow from a major series of police raids across Essex. Eight people suspected of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply were arrested in a dawn operation involving more than 40 officers in Colchester.

SUSPECTED drug dealers have been dealt a stinging blow from a major series of police raids across Essex.

Eight people suspected of possessing Class A drugs with intent to supply were arrested in a dawn operation involving more than 40 officers in Colchester.

At a house in Barrack Street a suspected drug dealer jumped through a first floor window in a desperate bid to escape officers.

A passer-by on his way to work suffered injuries when shards of glass fell and cut his head.


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Following a period of intelligence gathering, three houses were targeted in Barrack Street, Ventura Drive and Maraschino Crescent off Mersea Road.

Detective Inspector Steve Johnson, who led the raids, which were part of the nationwide Operation Crackdown, said they had been a major success.

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Operation Crackdown is set to continue this morningwith further raids across the county.

Details of the Colchester arrests at about 7.30am on Tuesday have been kept secret until today to prevent other operations from being jeopardised.

At Barrack Street, seven people were arrested on suspicion of intent to supply Class A drugs after 14 packages of what was thought to be of crack cocaine were seized.

The target at Maraschino Crescent was also arrested on suspicion of intent to supply Class A drugs.

No drugs were found at Ventura Drive so no further action will be taken against a woman at the house.

Speaking at the launch of three-month operation, Home Office Minister, Caroline Flint, said: "There is a clear link between Class A drugs and crime, including gun crime, and the Government is determined to do everything it can to tackle harm caused by drugs.

"Operation Crackdown sends a clear message to drug dealers that their behaviour will not be tolerated in our communities and that they will be brought to justice and face harsh penalties.

"Throughout the campaign local police forces will work with local authorities, treatment workers and drug action teams in a targeted approach to tackle this menace.

"During this campaign police forces will also be focusing on seizing illegal firearms, ensuring that wherever possible guns are taken off the streets.  Where the police feel it is appropriate, this could include conducting stop and search operations in targeted areas to clamp down on the carrying of firearms and other weapons associated with drugs.

"As well as taking Class A drugs out of the supply chain, Operation Crackdown will get more drug users into treatment and away from crime, making communities safer."

n Among the eight people arrested in Colchester was a man wanted by police in relation to the earlier high profile drugs raids known as Operation Tralee.

The man had been due to face the courts on drugs charges but failed to turn up last year and had been on the run ever since. Officers said the surprise find had been a "great result".

All those arrested have been given bail until May while enquiries continue.

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