Drug crime is now behind almost 40pc of all cases at Norwich Crown Court

Police in Dereham on a drugs raid. Picture: Ian Burt

Police in Dereham on a drugs raid. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Drug crime is behind almost 40pc of all cases at Norwich Crown Court as the number of dealers caught soars.

Police during a drugs raid in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley

Police during a drugs raid in Norwich. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Police hailed the figures as a success for their high-profile crackdown against dealers coming from outside the county, called Operation Gravity.

But the figures from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) also show the huge workload drug offences are putting on Norwich Crown Court.

While the number of cases dealt with at the court has dropped by almost a quarter in the last four years, drug cases have rocketed by 135pc.

They made up 38pc of all cases from April to June this year.

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On Tuesday at Norwich Crown court the latest dealer caught was jailed in court one.

Adesola Malomo, a part-time rapper from Romford, directed runners to sell heroin and cocaine in Norwich from his Essex home.

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The 24-year old was jailed for four years.

Meanwhile in court two another drug case was arranged for trial next year.

Next door, in court three, four more men were up for drug offences.

Mohamed Hassan, 24, of Windsor Crescent, Wembley and Hiward Yarkhil, 22, from Golders Manor Drive, London, were both charged with possession with intent to supply Class A drugs after being stopped on the A11 outside Norwich in June.

They will be sentenced in November.

Cameron Burgess, 28, and James O'Shaughnessy, 20, both from Normandy Avenue Colchester were charged with possession with intent to supply after police found drugs in a home in Northgate Street, Great Yarmouth in April.

Burgess was jailed for a year and O'Shaughnessy was give a suspended sentence of 20 months.

Chief Inspector Sonia Humphreys said the figures were a result of the police's hard work to keep communities safe from drug crime.

A police spokesman said: 'We have been prioritising the issue of county lines drug activity and associated violence for the last 18 months under Operation Gravity.

'Enforcement has played a significant role in this resulting in more than 760 arrests since December 2016. This has inevitably resulted in a rise in cases being put before the courts and our effort and commitment into tackling these issues continues.

'We are doing everything we can within our remit to tackle this issue, however, law enforcement alone cannot solve these issues and we are working closely with partners to address societal issues associated with this include housing, education and rehabilitation.'

Overall fewer crimes are being prosecuted at crown courts with the number of theft, sexual and violent crime cases all going down in Norwich and nationally.

Ian Kelcey, a solicitor at the Law Society, said the fall was likely down to police cuts.

'The problem is that police forces do not have the manpower to put together the information the Crown Prosecution Service wants and I suspect a lot of cases have just not been pursued because it is too much trouble from them.'

A Home Office spokesman said: 'Police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work and we have provided a strong and comprehensive settlement that is increasing total investment in the police system by over £460m in 2018-19.'

•Norfolk addiction service Change, Grow, Live can be contacted on 01603 514096

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