SIXTEEN people were arrested during a series of dawn raids as Staffordshire Police stepped up its operation to rid the streets of Burton of drug dealers.
Officers swooped on 15 properties across the town, arresting suspects aged 15 to 47 on suspicion of supplying drugs including heroin and crack cocaine.
Yesterday’s raids involved more than 250 officers and police staff and followed months of intelligence gathering and planning by specialist investigation teams from Staffordshire Police under the banned of Operation Nemesis.
The latest arrests came on the back of a similar operation last month which saw 17 people held as part of the force’s anti-drugs efforts.
Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey, commander of the East Staffordshire local policing team, said: “On January 16, Operation Nemesis began and we launched our operation to rid the streets of Burton of drug dealers. It was a very successful operation but that was only the start.
“We said that others would be targeted and this operation was the force following up on that promise. This is the second phase and I am delighted to say that is has been a massive success.
“After the first set of raids, lots of members of the public said that we had missed things or had not listened to the information they had provided to us.
“I hope that this operation goes to show that we have been listening to what they have had to say and have now acted on that information.
“I hope that the success of both sets of raids will show the public that we do listen and also implores them to get in touch if they know of any problems.
“Their information is invaluable and, mixed with good police work, can have a very positive impact on the community, as we have seen with Operation Nemesis.”
Addresses were targeted yesterday in Bradmore Road, Carver Road, Anglesey Road, Burton Road, Mona Road, Beech Street and Winchester Drive in Burton, Vicarage Road, in Woodville, and a property in Cannock.
The suspects included 13 males, aged between 15 and 47, and three women aged 18, 26 and 28.
As suspects were taken into custody for questioning, all properties were searched by scenes of crimes officers.
After the raids had been completed, the areas affected were flooded with neighbourhood officers and PCSOs to reassure the community and explain what had happened.
Chief Constable Mike Cunningham , who took part in the raids, said: “We have targeted people who have real questions to answer. It has been a very successful operation.
“These people have been a blight on the community and it was our job, with this operation, to make sure that we put an end to the nuisance and chaos that was enveloping the town.
“Drugs have been having a highly corrosive effect and this is why we had to act and act now. I would like to thank all the members of the public who have been brave enough to come forward with information.
“We want people to continue keeping us informed so we can help remove problems from their streets.”