EIGHT people have been arrested as part of a major crackdown on drugs in Hyndburn.
Police raided five addresses in the borough – Norfolk Grove, Church; Lee Street, Accrington; Game Street, Great Harwood; Spring Hill Road, Accrington; and Marsden Street, Accrington – in a bid to cause “enormous disruption’’ to the area’s drug supplies.
Up to 30 officers were deployed in the early-morning raids as part of a county-wide operation called Protecting People.
The operation, which saw police swoop on suspected dealers and drug dens, was made possible by extra cash raised through an increase in this year’s council tax.
Six men aged between 16 and 42 and two women aged 17 and 31 were arrested on suspicion of drug offences after officers said they seized a qua-ntity of what they believed to be heroin and cannabis.
Peter Brett, 26, of Spring Hill Road, Accrington, has been charged with cultivating 10 cannabis plants and abstracting electricity and will appear before Hyndburn magistrates today (Friday).
Inspector Chris Saville, who was in charge of the operation, said: “We have demonstrated our determination to disrupt and target those suspected of dealing drugs in Hyndburn.
“This should send a stern message to those people who think they can commit crime in Hyndburn – that we will target you and endeavour to bring you to justice.’’
Monday’s raids involved a number of specialist police including operational support units, CID, drug detection dogs and neighbourhood policing teams.
Taking a hands-on role were Eastern Division Superintendent Chris Bithell and Hyndburn’s Chief Inspector Richard Morgan.
Chief Insp Morgan said: “We want to drive a wagon and horses through these people’s normal activities. The impact of a day like this could knock the drugs business out of shape for a long time.
“We treat all reports of drug dealing very seriously and that is why suspects are being targeted.”
A 25-year-old man who was arrested on Norfolk Grove, Church, was cautioned for possession of heroin and a 42-year-old arrested at Lee Street, Accrington, was cautioned for possession of cannabis.
A 31-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of possessing a Class C drug with intent to supply has been released on police bail until Monday 28 July.
Four other people, two 16-year-old males, a 17-year-old female and an 18-year-old male, were released without charge.
DURING the week a “ring of steel” has been placed around Hyndburn as police have made a major bid to disrupt serious and organised crime.
They have also carried out Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) checks to target travelling criminals.
The specialist equipment scanned over 4,000 car number plates on Burnley Road, Manchester Road and Blackburn Road in Accrington, and more than 100 vehicles were stopped for offences ranging from having no driving licence and no insurance to not wearing a seat belt and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
A 20-year-old man was arrested for disqualified driving and three cars were seized from people who had no insurance.
Officers also handed out 12 fixed penalty tickets to people who were not wearing a seat belt and two to people who were using a mobile phone while driving.
ANPR works by scanning registration plates and checking them against information stored on various police databases.
Sergeant Pete Sculpher from Eastern Division’s road policing unit said: “ANPR is a powerful piece of equipment in the fight against crime and the message is simple – we want to remove criminals from our roads.
“It is known that motoring offences such as driving without tax and insurance are often associated with other crimes and we will continue to use this tool in the future.”
Police in Hyndburn have also been working with trading standards officers, focussing on violent alcohol-related crime in the town centre.