Major police crackdown on Stevenage drugs crime and London supply chain leads to 20 arrests and widespread seizures of narcotics and cash

Police break down a door during a recent raid

Police break down a door during a recent raid - Credit: Archant

A dedicated police operation to stamp out drug and knife related crime in Stevenage has led to 20 arrests, the confiscation of drugs worth £6,300 and almost £10,000 in cash.

Cowards Carry Knives: The Comet started a campaign to help raise awareness of the dangers of knife c

Cowards Carry Knives: The Comet started a campaign to help raise awareness of the dangers of knife crime after the stabbing of police dog Finn in October - Credit: Archant

Operation Estray was launched in response to an increase in drug related crime in Stevenage fuelled by London gangs supplying the town, which coincided with the stabbing of police dog Finn in October.

Officers were quick to respond throughout the autumn with raids across town as part of a major ongoing crackdown.

It was announced today the team has so far confiscated 315 wraps of Class A drugs with a street value in excess of £6,300, cash totalling £9,749, six imitation firearms, six knives and other weapons.

Five properties in Stevenage are now being investigated as potential drug distribution houses, where vulnerable, often addicted, adults live, usually being supplied from London and sometimes acting as local dealers.

During a recent raid, officers confiscated this machete from an address in Roundmead

During a recent raid, officers confiscated this machete from an address in Roundmead - Credit: Archant

Police are working with Stevenage Borough Council to shut down more of these houses and get help and support for addicts and vulnerable residents.

Detective Sergeant John Harlock, who is leading on Operation Estray said: “We have seen some great disruption so far and I would like to thank local residents for their support. The information you provide us with about what is going on in your area is vital to our investigations.

Most Read

“We know that many of those who commit drug related crime are not local and are travelling into the area from outside, targeting local residents, often taking over their addresses to set up drug distribution bases.

“Operation ESTRAY is an on-going operation, seeking to bring those responsible to justice and safeguard local residents from this activity.

“I would urge all local residents to report any suspicious activity, particularly if it involves people you have not previously seen in the area. You can call the Stevenage Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”

Councillor Sherma Batson, the council’s executive member for safer communities, said: “We all want to reduce crime and keep people safe so Operation ESTRAY is playing a pivotal role in clamping down on drug related crimes, while offering help and support to vulnerable residents in Stevenage. This is just the start so I would encourage local residents to keep reporting any suspicious behaviour, as together we can make Stevenage even safer.”

The arrests/raids were as follows:

• Paul Bennett, 19, charged with possession with intent to supply class A drugs, remanded into custody.

• A 53-year-old man arrested for money laundering offences after warrants carried out at Walden End, currently on police bail.

• A 39-year-old man from London arrested for immigration and Proceeds of Crime offences, currently on police bale.

• A 27-year-old man from Stevenage recalled to prison.

• Nazreen Younas, 30, from Stevenage charged with theft offences.

• Cash totally £2,418 was seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act from a property at Walden End, with a closure order served on the address.

• A 24-year-old man from London, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply after a warrant was executed in Bedwell Crescent. He is currently on police bail. Cash totalling £1,720 was seized from the address.

• Three men from London were arrested after their vehicle was stopped and a large quantity of Class A drugs and cash recovered.

• Darren McCallum, 22, from Ditchmore Lane in Stevenage was arrested and later charged with being in possession of class B drugs.

• A 23-year-old man from Letchworth was arrested after being found in possession of class A drugs.

• A warrant was executed at Homestead Moat, and three men and a youth were arrested for drugs offences.

• A 43-year-old man and a 53-year-old man, both from Stevenage, were arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a controlled drug and a 24-year-old man from London was arrested on warrant. Cash and drugs were recovered and a closure order for the address has been applied for.