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Police smash gang suspected of city drug dealing

February 16, 2013, 9:45 am

An evening drugs bust in south Birmingham last night (15 Feb) saw the arrest of several suspected dealers as West Midlands Police continued its efforts to disrupt the supply of illegal substances across the city.

The warrants were executed following months of intelligence gathering and saw around 70 officers from various force departments, including the Dogs Unit, involved in the sting.

Officers descended on 10 addresses simultaneously (one pictured) at around 8pm in a departure from the typical early-morning raids usually seen on such operations.

The evening raids followed months of community and police observations which identified Friday nights between 7pm and 9pm as a hotbed of drugs activity.

As the force helicopter circled overhead, entry was forced at properties in Ithon Grove, Halladale, Redbrook Covert, Pershore Road, Fairfax Road, Ludstone Road, Green Acres Road and Redditch Road.

It resulted in the arrest of five men – aged between 18- and 40-years-old – and the seizure of whats believed to be both Class B and Class A drugs (including around 80 pills), assorted drugs paraphernalia such as dealer bags and scales, plus a rifle.

Officers believe the highly visible enforcement action will have a significant impact at the top level of the illegal drug trade in south Birmingham.

Chief Inspector Simon Wallis, said: “Our action sends out a message that drug dealing wont be tolerated in our communities…no-one involved in drug supply can sleep easy because they should understand we could come knocking at any time.

“We are still actively pursuing more suspects we believe are connected to last nights drugs raids and are confident our action will result in people being placed before the courts.”

The five men arrested remain in police custody this morning and will later be questioned by detectives.

Inspector Vanessa Eyles, who oversees policing in the Kings Norton and Selly Oak areas, said: “This action was prompted directly by information received from local people.

“We get lots of calls reporting suspicious activity…we cant always act immediately because of the complexity of the gangs involved, but operations like this demonstrate how valuable community intelligence is and that we will act to tackle local concerns.

“Every call is vital as we work to make south Birmingham an even safer place and I would urge anyone with any suspicions of drug activity in their area to give us a call − because every piece of information makes a difference.”

Detective Inspector Andy Bannister, from the forces Counter Gangs Task Force, said: “These arrests will send shockwaves across Birminghams drug dealing fraternity; theres no place in this city for gangs involved in the illegal drugs trade.”

Launched in early 2012, the 35 officers from the Counter Gangs Task Force cover the whole force area and combine enforcement action with community engagement. Their aim is to disrupt the activities of the approximate 23 urban street gangs across the West Midlands whose activities impact on the local community.

This is done by actively engaging with youngsters and working closely with partner agencies to divert kids away from the gang lifestyle.

DI Bannister added: “There is a real joint focus upon reducing the attraction of joining criminal gangs in the first place. The work starts in the family home, in youth groups and through education in our schools across the region.

“This education work includes sharing powerful and emotive stories of those who have lost loved ones to gang violence, as well as accounts of those who thought it may be glamorous only to see themselves serving long prison sentences, a stark realisation that it is anything but glamorous.”

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