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Day of police raids - Work continues to tackle 'county lines' drugs threat

PUBLISHED: 16:10 08 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:10 08 March 2019

As part of operation Velocity, police officers prepare themselves to enter the property, Picture: Victoria Pertusa

As part of operation Velocity, police officers prepare themselves to enter the property, Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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Police have raided properties in Suffolk today to try and seize drugs as they continue to target 'county lines' gangs.

As part of operation Velocity, police officers prepare themselves to enter the property, Picture: Victoria PertusaAs part of operation Velocity, police officers prepare themselves to enter the property, Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Today’s day of action was part of Suffolk police’s Operation Velocity, which tackles the drugs trade as well as supporting vulnerable people who are used by the dealers.

County Lines and the supply of drugs is effectively a gang of at least three people with origins to an urban city location, such as London, who establish a market in local Suffolk towns, predominantly Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft, to transport and sell crack cocaine and heroin.

Warrants were issued to enter properties, including in Haverhill, based on information from members of the public.

A team of nine police officers and a sniffer dog entered the flat in Tudor Close, but after a thorough search no drugs were found and no arrests were made.

Active Sargeant of Haverhill, Charles Birrell. Picture: Victoria PertusaActive Sargeant of Haverhill, Charles Birrell. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Sergeant Charlie Birrell said while it was a negative result, this proactive work was vital.

Sgt Birrell, who is based in Haverhill, said: “Regardless of the end result it’s still important for community reassurance and it’s still good to gather intelligence and show people the constabulary are dealing proactively with this issue and our attempts will continue.”

He said this drugs problem was “entrenched” in Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds, adding the backlash of county lines is felt throughout the rest of policing, for example increased thefts because people try to fund their habit and violent offences.

The gangs often carry weapons, the most common being knives, and when disputes erupt with other gang members or local drug dealers it can result in violence.

As part of operation Velocity, police officers prepare themselves to enter the property, Picture: Victoria PertusaAs part of operation Velocity, police officers prepare themselves to enter the property, Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Sgt Birrell said the gangs target youngsters, adding he has dealt with county lines members who are 14/15 years old and come primarily from London with large amounts of Class A drugs.

He said: “They are often groomed into it. They are shown the money, new trainers, lifestyle. The lifestyle is quite appealing to them, but they don’t see the bigger picture.”

He added: “It’s something parents would need to consider if their children are getting money from unexplained sources and they are a bit concerned about where their youngsters are.”

The police are due to release the full results from today’s operation next week.

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