Police target homes linked with drug trade in Norwich in morning raids

Police break into a house on Keyes Close for Operation Gravity searching for suspected drugs users.

Police break into a house on Keyes Close for Operation Gravity searching for suspected drugs users. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

An estimated 20 drug cells operating within the city are now a priority for police in Norwich as the force has declared a 'critical incident' over a spate of drug related stabbings.

Police hunt through rooms at a house in Keyes Close for Operation Gravity searching for suspected dr

Police hunt through rooms at a house in Keyes Close for Operation Gravity searching for suspected drugs users. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

In morning raids on Monday, officers from the Safer Neighbourhood Action Team (SNAT) targeted three homes at Keyes Road, Keyes Close and Springbank in Lakenham which are alleged to have links to London drug gangs.

It comes as Norfolk police has been running Operation Gravity for the last month – dedicated to stopping gangs from the capital preying on the region.

Calling the tactics of the dealers 'quite deplorable', Sgt Matt Wright of SNAT said his job was to 'frustrate' the gangs as soon as they come to the city.

Police said a small quantity of heroin was found at Keyes Road, and a man in his 30s, from the Tuckswood area, was arrested for alleged outstanding drug offences, including possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.

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Another man in his 30s from Loddon found at the address was reported for summons for possession of Class A drugs.

At Keyes Close no evidence of criminality was found during the raid.

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Operation Gravity was launched by Norfolk police following six

serious violent incidents involving knives, including four stabbings

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dXODQNWLJA

with multiple injuries, which were linked to drug networks in the county. Police are concerned over the spread of gangs from London because of their tactics, which have so far been confined to the drugs community.

Sgt Wright said: 'The guys coming in from out of the county to deal their drugs aren't interested in street robberies or burglaries. It is a business for them.

'They like to stay under the radar and not draw too much attention to themselves.

'Local residents may get frustrated and angry, and perhaps disappointed about the police response, and contact Norwich City Council complaining about anti-social behaviour and drug dealing,' said Sgt Wright. 'That information will still be fed back to us and we will act on it.'

Police are urging anyone with information about drug activity in their area to contact them on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively information can be left with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Community information vital in arrests

Norfolk's communities are being praised for information they have already given to police and partners following the launch of Operation Gravity.

Over the weekend and as a direct result of members of the public calling in, officers attended addresses in both Norwich and Great Yarmouth and two people were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply offences.

A man in his 20s and from the Ipswich area was arrested after the discovery of 28 suspected Class A drugs wraps at an address in Norwich with over £500 cash also seized. He has been bailed until 1 February 2017.

In Great Yarmouth, a 17 year old boy from Great Yarmouth was arrested after the discovery of six wraps of Class A drugs. He has been bailed 28 February 2017.

Other activity at the weekend also included officers in Great Yarmouth detaining a sixteen year old boy, who was found to be in possession of a large quantity of cash which was seized.

In addition, roads policing officers stopped a vehicle in Yarmouth Road, Blofield, known to be linked to drug dealing in London. An 18 year old man was found to be in possession of a large sum of money which was seized under Proceeds of Crime Act. He was also arrested as he was wanted for further offences by the Metropolitan Police.

Chief Supt Dave Marshall said: 'All our efforts continue to be focused around those who look to threaten and intimidate local residents or prevent Norfolk from being a safe place to live and work.

'I want to reassure communities that any information they submit will be treated in confidence but importantly you are keeping your community safer by telling us what you know about drug activity.'

If you suspect drug dealing in your neighbourhood it may look like:

Groups of people coming and going from an address at all times of the day and night

The discarding of Class A paraphernalia such as syringes and cellophane

General anti-social behaviour without any other explanation

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