Crackdown on drugs in north Essex district

Chief Inspector Paul Wells Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chief Inspector Paul Wells Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

A police crackdown on drug-dealing in the Tendring district has been announced after a 38% rise in trafficking offences.

Essex Police have increased their efforts to disrupt drug dealing in Tendring over the past year and will now launch Operation Albatross to dedicate more energy and resources to railroading dealers and the illegal sale of banned substances.

Essex Police officers plan to gather intelligence and conduct more searches, vehicle stops and search warrants to target suspected dealers.

Chief Inspector Paul Wells, District Commander for Tendring, shed a light on the devastating impact the drug trade has communities.

He said: “The illegal drugs trade is massive and the vast majority of dealers don’t care who they sell to or what harm it causes.

“Drug dealing leads to serious violent crime and to users who need to steal to fund an addiction or a habit. We also see so much hidden harm when dealers are allowed to operate as they want.

“Vulnerable people are exploited every day, for example through ‘cuckooing’ or being made to carry drugs.

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“Where there is drug dealing, we also see channels for other criminal commodities, including weapons and sometimes, humans.”

Between September 2017 and 2018, police have witnessed a 38% rise in recorded drug trafficking offences in the area.

To help combat this crime wave, officers have called for the people of Tendring to supply information about drug dealing.

Inspector Wells said: “If you have information about people selling drugs in your community, we need you to let us know.

“This is an issue which affects the whole community and the whole community can make a massive difference.

The operation will also involve engaging with young people from across the district including officers hosting a computer games tournament.

Gangs often pressure young and vulnerable people into carrying drugs which Inspector Wells calls “cheap, low-risk labour.”

He said: “There is loads more work to do in this area and diverting young people is absolutely key.

If we do it well, we will save lives. Gang life is not glamorous - it’s violent, exploitative, and dangerous and hard to walk away from.”If you have any information about people making, growing, buying, selling or distributing illegal drugs, call Essex Police on 101 Alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.