Seven arrested in dawn raids

IAN CLARKE Seven people are today in custody after being arrested in a series of dawn raids by police tackling drug dealing.More than 60 officers were involved in the planned operation to target suspected drug dealers and disrupt the class A drug supply chain in the Breckland area.


Seven people remain in custody after being arrested in a series of dawn raids by police tackling drug dealing.

About 40 officers were involved in the planned operation on the Abbey estate and surrounding streets in Thetford.

The dawn swoops - under the banner of Operation Hydra - were carried out simultaneously at addresses in Painter Street, Canterbury Way, Ely Way, Chester Way and four homes in Edinburgh Way yesterday as part of Operation Hydra, which aims to rid the streets of Breckland of Class A dealers and to disrupt the supply of heroin and cocaine.

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Two women - both aged 37 - and five men - aged between 19 and 52 - were arrested and a large amount of cash and quantities of heroin, cannabis, and other drugs paraphernalia were seized during the raid.

The intelligence led operation was a joint initiative between officers from the western area and Norfolk Police's drugs and serious crime squad.

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Western area superintendent Nick Dean said: “We are sending a clear message to the community that Class A drug dealing is not acceptable in Norfolk. We live in a safe county and the drugs trade threatens that safety and we are going to tackle it head-on.

“This morning's enforcement action formed the first phase of this operation. We acknowledge the impact a high profile operation such as this can have on the wider community and the second welfare phase will see officers on the streets offering reassurance to local residents.”

Following the raids, officers from the Thetford and Attleborough Safer Neighbourhoods Teams were deployed throughout the day to carry out a leaflet and letter drop in those communities affected.

Drug referral officers have been made available at custody suites to offer advice.

A large police presence was continued on the Abbey Estate with 15 PCs and police community support officers (PCSO) from Safer Neighbourhood Teams from Thetford, Attleborough, and Dereham handing out information leaflets and a letter signed by area commander Chief Supt Tony Cherington to local residents. Drug referral officers were also made available at custody suites.

Households also received a leaflet devised by the Norfolk Drug and Alcohol, giving some basic facts and advice about drugs and local helpline numbers.

Safer Neighbourhoods Sgt Steve Burke said the reaction from local residents was positive.

“We knocked on doors, handed out leaflets and spoke to people in the street and the feedback on the police operation was very positive - they don't want drugs on their estate affecting the quality of life for them and their families,” he said.

“We were able to explain that the raids were the result of information gathering over several months - which helped to relieve the perception that we weren't acting on information. It also enabled us to thank members of the public personally for supporting us.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Information from the Community Alcohol and Drugs Service is available at 01842 767714.

For those suffering the effects of alcohol of drugs misuse call the Matthew Project 24-hour helpline on 0800 764754.

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