Police launch crack cocaine operation

By James HorePOLICE have launched a high-profile operation against the “growing menace” of crack cocaine in Essex. Dealing in the highly addictive class A substance has increased rapidly in the UK during the past decade with users spending between £200 and £2,000 every week.

By James Hore

POLICE have launched a high-profile operation against the “growing menace” of crack cocaine in Essex.

Dealing in the highly addictive class A substance has increased rapidly in the UK during the past decade with users spending between £200 and £2,000 every week.

Now dealers have started to “make inroads” into Essex because of the saturation of crack cocaine in London and the West Midlands.

Operation Orlando was launched yesterday by Essex Police, which will lead the intelligence-gathering work investigating people suspected of being involved in the supply of the drug.

The multi-agency effort will also involve local authorities and drug referral workers.

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Essex Assistant Chief Constable Liam Brigginshaw said it was important the problem of crack cocaine was wiped out before it took root.

“Crack is an evil drug, which devastates lives and blights communities. This is a drug that relies on psychological rather than physical addiction,” he added.

“While crack cocaine was not a big issue in Essex two or three years ago, the problem is growing and we will not stand by and let those involved in this vile trade prey on our communities.”

Earlier this year, 20 arrests were made in the Colchester and Clacton areas as part of Operation Tralee, which followed months of undercover work designed to cut out the supply line of class A drugs.

Essex Police head of crime, Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Reynolds, said: “We need the support of the judiciary in order to reinforce the message to anyone thinking of coming to Essex to peddle crack cocaine - 'we will find you, investigate you and bring you to book with the full weight of the law'.

“Operation Orlando is about solving the issues around crack dealing and use, rather than chasing the symptoms away.”

A series of posters will also be distributed to communities to make drug users aware of how to get help and let the public know how to report any activity relating to dealing.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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