THE biggest anti-drug operation in a town for years resulted in several people arrested over the course of two days in simultaneous early morning raids.

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Raids were carried out in Stevenage by police yesterday (Wednesday) and this morning, in a bid to crack down on drug trafficking.

Around 80 police officers visited 12 properties yesterday, and were scheduled to go to a further six today.

At the time of going to press, six men and a 16 year old boy – all from Stevenage – were arrested on suspicion of supplying class A drugs.

A 30-year-old woman and a 40-year-old man, both from Stevenage, were arrested on suspicion of permitting the premises to be used for the supply of class A drugs, and a 33-year-old man from Stevenage was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

“We are pleased with how it has gone,” said Chief Inspector Richard Liversidge, speaking to the Comet yesterday.

“We followed the plan, which has worked and recovered evidence which will support our case for entering the premises in the first place.

“We want to get the message out that dealing drugs in Stevenage is not tolerated. We fully understand the impact it has on the wider community and businesses, due to the link with associated crime.”

Police started collecting intelligence for the operation at the end of last year, and spent months preparing for this week’s raids.

Chief Insp Liversidge said it was the biggest drugs operation he had seen in the town in the five years he has been based there, with Sergeant Jim Moatt adding it was the largest in his eight years as an officer in Stevenage.

Officers began each day with a briefing, and then visited properties in groups. They had warrants for all the properties that were searched.

Sniffer dogs were also brought in to search some of the premises, and A boards were put up in streets where properties were searched, to inform residents about what had happened.

“I would like to reassure local residents that Stevenage remains a safe town,” said Chief Insp Liversidge, who added that he wanted to thank all those involved in the operation and the town’s So Safe Partnership.

“This was about making it safer and continuing the reduction in crime.

“I would appeal to the public to continue to provide information related to drugs supply and any other crime.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland joined police and the media on the raids.

He said: “These type of operations reassure the community that Stevenage is a safe place to live.

“The police know where the criminals are and they know what they are doing. Operations like this show that they are coming for these criminals and will remove them from the local community so we are all safer.”

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