A SERIES of co-ordinated dawn raids have taken place in a major crackdown on the "crack and heroin market" in Barrow.

Police in riot gear armed with battering rams smashed their way into two properties on Barrow Island, as well as others across the area.

After months of preparation, the raids nicknamed Operation Horizon were carried out in response to the "significantly higher" number of drug deaths in the town at the end of 2017 and the start of 2018.

The Mail:

Mail reporter Charlie Fox and Mail photographer Leanne Bolger joined officers at the 6am raids in Ship Street and Egerton Court yesterday and today.

Speaking at a briefing on Monday, Detective Inspector Paddy McDonnell, who is leading the operation, said after carrying out covert surveillance since May, officers were hoping to make "a significant dent in the ability for people to source drugs in the county".

Officers said 35 drug dealers have been identified from Barrow as well as London, Merseyside and Coventry.

OPERATION HORIZON: Barrow men and women among the 22 arrested

At around 6am yesterday, The Mail witnessed officers breaking down the door of a property in Ship Street, which had been partially barricaded in from the other side by a chest of drawers.

The Mail:

Sergeant Sara Seath

Police then searched the property discovering two people and a dog inside.

One man was arrested after a full search of the property.

OPERATION HORIZON: Barrow's top cop makes 'no apologises for waking up suspected drug dealers at 6am'

At the scene Sgt Sara Seath said: "There has been a large-scale operation in Barrow where multiple addresses have been struck at the same time.

"We've entered those premises to carry out section eight warrants to search for drugs because of intelligence we have had in relation to those premises and the people that occupied them.

“After searching the flat we seized a quantity of cash and a mobile phone.

"One male has been arrested and he is currently being booked into police custody.

"When we got to the flat we found a set of vehicle keys, so we have found that the male has just recently bought a car.

“We've searched the car and nothing has been found.”

The Mail:

The second raid witnessed by The Mail took place this morning.

At around 7:30am this morning, police officers broke down the door of another property at Egerton Court.

OPERATION HORIZON: Where you can get help

At the scene, Sergeant Sara Seath said: “This morning we’ve come to Egerton Court to execute a warrant here under the misuse of drugs act and one female has been arrested for a drug related offence.

“She’s going to be taken into custody and interviewed during the day and we are now going to search the premises.”

Reporters then witnessed as the female was escorted to the police van and taken away.