Operation smashes Barrow drugs ring
Last updated at 13:13, Monday, 04 March 2013
THROUGHOUT late February, police have been running an operation to crack down on drug dealing and the crime it causes. GILES BROWN joined them as they raided houses in South Cumbria
It is a bitterly cold morning in Barrow, but that doesn’t stop the neighbours standing on their doorsteps to watch the fallout from an early morning police raid.
This morning three properties have been hit at once.
In one house in High White Close, Ormsgill, one woman jokes that she has to be given time to iron her clothes before appearing in front of the Evening Mail’s photographer, then invites our snapper in to take photos of the search.
However, the background to this raid – one of the first in the two-week-long Operation Shoehorn – is deadly serious.
Although no drugs were recovered in this particular search, the operation, which began on February 18, has been organised in response to a rise in serious violent crime thought to be related to the illegal drug trade.
Over a three-week period, police in South Cumbria have executed 25 search warrants and arrested 26 people who will go in front of the courts.
Drugs with a street value of more than £35,000 have been recovered, along with £25,000 in cash and £2,000 worth of stolen goods.
At a meeting of the Barrow Community Safety Partnership at Barrow Fire Station on Thursday, Superintendent Mark Pannone said the operation had left drug dealers running scared.
He said: “We’ve had some fantastic work with Operation Shoehorn, which is continuing this week and is having a profound effect on drug dealers in the area, who are running scared at the moment.”
Detective inspector Rob O’Connor explained that, not only was this a crackdown on violent crime and its drugs background, but also the theft and trade in stolen goods which people use to finance their addictions.
He said: “Reported crime in South Cumbria is still at a low level, but we have noticed an increase in certain areas, one of them being serious violent crime. We tend to find this is linked to drug supply.
“The main problem we have is with heroin coming into Barrow, generally from Liverpool.”
In some cases, drug gangs in Liverpool would send a member of the gang or an associate to “latch on to” a drug user in Barrow.
Operation Shoehorn was designed to “nip in the bud” violent and armed crime before it became a real problem, said DCI O’Connor.
“We are very fortunate that we don’t have any issue with firearms linked to drugs,” he said.
“We don’t want people to see armed cops walking down the streets and if we can nip that in the bud, that is what we want to do.”
Patrols have also been working on weekend nights in Barrow to detect people dealing and using street drugs.
The operation did not just target Barrow, with officers working throughout South Cumbria to identify properties where on Wednesday February 27, two people were arrested and later bailed after drugs were seized when police raided a house in Lund Terrace, Ulverston.
DI O’Connor said intelligence from police sources in the community told them people involved in drug dealing were beginning to worry about whether theirs would be the next house to be raided.
And he warned drug dealers that police would continue to crack down on properties where they suspected crimes were taking place and that the campaign should send out a strong message to those involved in criminality.
First published at 15:39, Sunday, 03 March 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
It always surprises me to read that there is a police crackdown. Why is there a crackdown? shouldnt fighting the wat on drugs be constant?
i know the police are at it all the time but it belittles their efforts at other times if they announce a crackdown. I dont think the word should be used.