Stowmarket police issue stark warning to local drug dealers as Operation Steelyard catches offenders

Stowmarket town centre

Stowmarket town centre Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Police officers in Stowmarket have warned local drug dealers not to rest on their laurels after a dedicated drugs operation in the last six months has resulted in a significant crackdown.

Stowmarket town centre

Stowmarket town centre Picture: MID SUFFOLK DISTRICT COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

Operation Steelyard began in the summer to specifically tackle drug dealing in the Stowmarket area by local people, not connected to the drug supply from London.

The aim is to reduce the amount of drug dealing by locals in the area, and curb the linked crimes such as anti-social behaviour and violent debt demands.

The last intensive bout of action over a couple of days featured 10 people being caught and more than 35 new strands of intelligence.

Inspector Andrew Martin, local policing commander for Stowmarket, said: “By stopping people we are able to uncover lots of drugs on our streets.

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“They [operations] work from an enforcement perspective, and if there’s a particular complaint from neighbours and we can undertake that enforcement you gather further intelligence.

“There are big issues with the drug lines from London but it’s also important to have a local focus and the effect it has on the community, even at the low end.”

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Among the measures have been stop-and-searches, plain clothes patrols, and action on tip-offs to catch those in possession.

The intelligence gathered is reviewed immediately and also enables officers to join the dots on supply routes, and put in place operations in the future.

Alongside measures by officers, tenancy services are also involved in helping shut down properties used as a base for dealing.

Mr Martin said: “A lot of cannabis possession incidents are actually connected to anti-social behaviour between neighbours, disputes, violence, debt collection.

“Cannabis is a gateway to harder drugs, and it does have an effect on our community, even though people consider it to be low level of crime.

“This is reassurance that as we do get a lot of reports we work with partners to stop it.”

In a warning to those dealing with a possessing drugs in the area, Mr Martin added: “Don’t rest on your laurels. It might look like police have reduced resourcing but we will still put these operations together, and just because you think it is a little bit of possession and you don’t think it affects anyone, it does, and we will do everything we can to stop it.”

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