Over the border: Drug gangs shut down in Epping

Crime / Wed 14th Nov 2018 am30 08:19am

FIVE suspected drug dealing gangs have been shut down by Essex Police with the arrest of 24 people during a day of action in Epping Forest District.

Acting on information from the community, Essex Police launched an investigation in May this year targeting so-called ‘county line’ drug dealing gangs in the Debden, Loughton, Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Limes Farm and Hainault areas of the district.

The gangs are believed to be involved in the supply of Class A drugs and thought to make roughly in the region of £3,000 per day from the sale of illegal substances.

Supported by Epping Forest District Council, who also provided £5,000 towards the cost of the policing operation, Essex Police began investigating the gangs and building a picture on key members.

The six-month probe culminated today, Tuesday November 13, with the execution of 19 warrants across the district.

In total 24 people have been arrested on suspicion of offences ranging from possession of drugs, to possession with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of drugs.

The operation was jointly led by Essex Police’s West local policing teams and Operation Raptor.

Chief Insp Lewis Basford, District Commander for Brentwood and Epping Forest District, said: “Essex Police has continued to take the fight to the gangs and individuals attempting to sell drugs on our streets.

“As long as people continue to attempt to sell drugs in our county we will continue to hunt them down and bring them to justice and, if that takes days or, as in this case, an operation that runs for months, we will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of them.

“We have seen some excellent results today with the arrest of 24 people, who are all suspected of being involved in drug supply, as well as the seizure of a significant amount of drugs and cash.

“I would like to reassure the residents of Epping Forest District that where we receive information that criminals, gangs or drug dealers are active in their area we will, as today shows, act on that.

“I would also like to send a clear message to drug dealers and criminals that they are not welcome on the streets of Epping Forest District or Essex.”

Epping Forest District Council supported Essex Police during the six month operation. Councillor Sam Kane, Cabinet member for community safety congratulated Chief Inspector Basford and his team. He said: “This operation has been long in the preparation and swift in the execution. It involved months of painstaking work by brave and dedicated men and women.

“It shows the real results we can achieve working together and I am very proud of the support we have been able to give Essex Police leading up to today’s action.

“Police and councillors really care about our district. This operation had to be carried out away from public view to enable officers to do their job and I am especially sympathetic to Inspector Basford.

“Local residents frequently ask what the Police and the Council are doing to fight crime and he has held his tongue many times in local meetings.

“We all can now appreciate why it’s not always possible to tell people everything happening behind the scenes. Hopefully our residents will sleep easier in their beds tonight knowing a little more of the hidden work by brave men and women to keep them safe.

Essex Police set up Operation Raptor teams in the North, South and West of the county to tackle drug and gang-related crime.

If you have information about drug or gang-related crime in your community contact Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

All 24 people remain in custody

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