Drug, robbery and human trafficking arrests after dawn raids in Telford
A dawn raid involving chainsaws, battering rams and dozens of police officers in protective gear saw eight people arrested in Telford.
Officers smashed down doors in Burford and Blakemore in Brookside at 6.15am today, targeting drugs gangs, robbers and human trafficking suspects.
Dressed in body armour, police charged into the small flats not entirely sure what they would be met with – angry residents, scared animals or maybe even weapons.
It had taken a week to plan and involved the perfectly timed co-ordination of about 50 officers, but within minutes of the "go" command being given it was all over successfully - with drugs seized and eight people in custody.
Three people were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply and five were arrested on suspicion of robbery, conspiracy to rob and human trafficking.
Superintendent Paul Moxley said the operation had been a success and that the effects of the raid would be felt in drug gangs in the coming weeks.
"The officers did very well," he said. "This was a really positive operation.
"Raids are very resource intensive, but it is what we are here to do. We recognise that these issues are impacting on the community.
"There are great people working and living in this area, but their lives are blighted by certain individuals and it is those individuals we need to target.
"These raids will really disrupt those key individuals, and the ripples of that disruption will start to flow out over the weekend and into next week. That tends to unravel other drug areas and gangs."
Six police vehicles, most of them unmarked and packed with officers, stationed themselves in Brookside just before 6.15am.
Once they had parked, officers rushed through the area's side streets and alleys to the homes, which police had been monitoring and photographing for a week ahead of the operation.
The pre-planning meant police were breaking down the door to the flats, with no hesitation, inside a minute of leaving their vehicles.
Bits of plastic flew off the door as officers cut it into pieces with a chainsaw, while the sound of a door being knocked in echoed from the other end of the street.
Once they'd gained access, police charged inside the upstairs flats, shouting and warning whoever was in there to stay put. It was partly to create an air of confusion, but also to maintain the element of surprise and control.
And then it went quiet.
Nobody was left in the streets except for the occasional officer returning to regular duty. Apart from the broken doors - thrown into gardens so that nobody tripped or hurt themselves on the shards of plastic - it might never have happened.
The whole process – from leaving the car to making the arrests – took less than 15 minutes.
Speed and surprise
Superintendent Moxley said: "We'll make sure we go in relatively quickly, and there's always the element of surprise. That's why we did it at 6.15am.
"The idea is to limit disruption to the community but also to minimise the propensity for violence against my officers.
"In the one address there was a significant quantity of drugs, but there was also a significant number of knives and baseball bats. There was a dog who was terrified, but could obviously have been very dangerous as well."
Although the raids themselves were the result of about a week of planning, the operation is part of a longer campaign against violence and drug gangs in Brookside.
It was in part mopping up the remnants of a gang that was targeted last year.
"This all started as a result of some very serious violence in that area where weapons were used," Superintendent Moxley said.
"It was predominantly between rival drug gangs, not generally involving innocent members of the public, but there were some very serious injuries. That ripple effect was felt in the area.
"The raids were about us mopping up the remnants of those not prosecuted on that occasion, but who are still on the peripheral of that violence."
One dealer down, another in place
Although he said the impact of the raid would be felt by local criminals, Superintendent Moxley said the battle with drugs gangs is constant.
"It would be naive to think we will ever be able to get completely and utterly on top of the drug trade," he said.
"That goes for across the country, not just for Telford. If we remove one drug dealer, another one will fill their place. It's on us to keep on top of it as much as we possibly can.
"We want the community to continue to work with us. We can only do these kinds of raids if we get the intelligence.
"Our officers are on the ground as much as they can be, but they don't know everything and they can't possibly know everything.
"We have to get the intelligence from the community. I would urge people to have the confidence to let us know, even if it's anonymously through Crimestoppers. We will then do something about it."
- Anybody with information about drugs offences happening in their area is asked to call police on 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org
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