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Drugs and cash seized at dawn

POLICE launched a huge drugs raid on homes in Accrington and Church at dawn on Monday.

POLICE launched a huge drugs raid on homes in Accrington and Church at dawn on Monday.

More than 80 officers, including dog patrols, CID and support units, swooped on properties in Church and central Accrington as part of Operation Nimrod, an ongoing crackdown on suspected Class A drug dealers.

Councillors and residents were invited to watch the raids, during which 11 addresses were targeted and possible illegal drugs and substantial sums of money seized.

Ten people - seven men and three women - were arrested during the day and nine of them were charged with a variety of drugs offences, including possession with intent to supply. The 10th person was charged later in the week.

The operation came only a month after police swooped on addresses in the Woodnook area of Accrington, resulting in nine people being charged.

Councillor Mrs Janet Storey, Cabinet portfolio holder for community safety, was one of the group that witnessed this week's raids, along with Church ward councillor John Broadley and two residents.

She said: "I was taken aback by the speed and efficiency with which the raids were carried out - it was very impressive. You start to appreciate the amount of work that must go into them. I think they will help to give residents more confidence that the police are doing something about drugs in the community.

"I also think that if these addresses are rented houses there is a case for informing the landlords, as they have a responsibility for the type of people they put in their properties."

Superintendent Warren Turner, operations manager at Eastern Division, said the raids were the result of months of evidence-gathering.

He said: "We have canvassed residents' opinions and listened to the voice of the community. The public have sent us a very clear message that they do not want people who illegally deal drugs to live among them."

Inspector Phil Cottam, of Accrington Police, added that the area's community beat manager, PC Lyndsey Molloy, had been working hard to make links with the community and she welcomed information from residents.

He said: "Mounting raids on this scale can be very disruptive and we are very grateful to local residents for their tolerance and support. We have spent a long time building up a picture of activity in the area. The majority of people who live in the areas targeted today are decent people who tell us time and again they do not welcome the disruptive criminal minority in their midst.

"This operation demonstrates our sustained attack upon crime and the causes of crime in the area. We anticipate that the quality of life for those living in these areas will see a marked improvement."


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist