Pictures Courtesy of the Evening Gazette
One of Stockton’s largest ever drugs operations has seen officers swoop on 24 addresses across the town this week in order to dismantle and disrupt Class A drug networks.
24 men and three women have been arrested on suspicion of offences including supplying heroin and crack cocaine and conspiracy to supply heroin and crack cocaine. Two arrested this morning remain in custody, nine others have been charged, 14 have been bailed pending further enquiries and two have been remanded in custody to appear at court.
Detectives and specialist drug units have worked tirelessly to gather community intelligence and information over a number of months to allow them to target those believed to be involved in the supply of illegal drugs.
With addresses across Thornaby, Newtown and Parkfield, Oxbridge and Stockton Town Centre targeted, the large-scale operation delved directly into the heart of Stockton’s communities. To reassure residents living in these communities, Neighbourhood Police Officers have carried out extra reassurance patrols and gathered further intelligence from members of the public.
The operation has been codenamed Clean Break, highlighting the work alongside Stockton Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) to support drug users on the ground into treatment services in the town. Once addresses have been raided and the top tiers of suspected supply networks are disrupted, this often leaves people addicted to Class A looking for a supply elsewhere.
Staff from services in Stockton then hit the ground with the aim of directing these vulnerable people quickly into much needed treatment and to support them to turn their lives around.
Leading the operation, Detective Inspector Steve Roche said: “This operation highlights policing at its best by gathering intelligence from the local community and acting on this information through a large scale response.
“Officers have worked extremely hard to identify people we believe to be supplying Class A drugs through a spider web of networks and on the streets of Stockton. Drug networks not only affect communities through associated crime and antisocial behaviour, but they affect addicts who rely on dealers to continue their supply. This is why it is essential that Stockton DAAT and staff from commissioned services are on hand to support people into treatment.
Stockton Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Marc Anderson said: “Community intelligence is at the heart of operations such as this and we have neighbourhood officers who are visible and accessible in communities. This operation is a perfect example of what can be done when police and residents work together and I would urge residents to continue to provide information on crime and antisocial behaviour to their officers.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “A huge amount of work has gone into launching this operation and I have visited officers on the ground during the week to see first hand the dedication involved. Drugs misuse blights families and communities and we must continue to gather information through neighbourhood policing teams and put resources into these operations in order to improve the lives of future generations.
Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, said: “We are really pleased to be supporting the Police in this operation to disrupt suspected drug networks while helping affected drug users get the help they need to turn their lives round. This helps make Stockton Borough a safer place to live and work.”
Posted on Friday 28th June 2013