October 1 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, October 11, 2012
In his pre-operation briefing at Great Yarmouth police station, Det Sgt Paul Morton finished with the warning: “Intelligence suggests a possible heightened risk so we want everyone to cover their backs.”
The importance of his words were underlined shortly after 9am today as soon as the tactical team’s nominated enforcer efficiently splintered the front door of the first targeted address, an innocuous-looking former guesthouse in Nelson Road South.
Right by the door, evidently positioned for any unwelcome intruders, they found a razor-sharp, military issue machete.
Holding up the seized weapon, Det Sgt Martin said: “This is one of the reasons we need an element of surprise on these raids, for safety. The other is the need to secure evidence as drugs can be disposed of very quickly, flushing them down the toilet or secreting them in body cavities, which is becoming more and more common.”
Following days of intelligence covering, Yarmouth officers were today undertaking four drugs raids and two to search for evidence of child pornography.
The raids were part of Operation Octane, a countywide clampdown on criminals involving more than 90 officers.
The first address, now divided into a house of multiple occupation, is close to other properties still operating as guesthouses and only a short walk to the sea front.
Following cries of “police, stand still”, one disorientated man was swiftly handcuffed and later arrested.
Evidently satisfied, Det Sgt Martin said: “We plan for resistance but we are lucky if there is none. Now we can calm everything down really quickly and relax into our core business of search and arrest.”
Without pausing, the enforcer then raced upstairs with other officers to break down a door on the top floor which intelligence suggested may be a drugs store room.
Expecting it to be unoccupied, they were surprised to encounter a Portuguese man with poor English; he too was swiftly handcuffed ahead of a search of his room.
A strong smell of potent skunk cannabis permeating the downstairs room gave Det Sgt Martin cause for optimism and a bag of the class B drug was swiftly recovered as the first result of the day.
“Adrenaline for breakfast” is a typical start to the day for an officer who leads raids on a daily basis throughout Norfolk.
He said: “Operations like this send out an important message to criminals and show we are taking the fight to them. Ultimately it makes life better for residents.
“Yarmouth does not stand out in comparison with other coastal towns in terms of its drug problems; by having teams like mine we are keeping a cap on it.”
Highlighting the immense impact of drugs, he said he had encountered people with a £300-a-day addiction to drugs such as crack cocaine, and that could fuel other crimes such as house burglary to pay for it.
Yarmouth police commander Supt Nick Davison said: “These intense bursts of activity show police care passionately about making the town safer and tackling crime in the community.”
He said the work of the tactical team was one element of their broader war on crime which had seen the crime rate fall 19pc in the past year in Yarmouth.