OPERATION Nemesis was designed to disrupt and dismantle the criminal activities of drug dealers blighting Burton and its communities, magistrates have been told.
Prosecutor Lisa Newman outlined the unprecedented police purge to Burton Magistrates’ Court as it prepared to process those caught in its trap, sprung just 24 hours earlier.
“The communities of Burton have been significantly affected by the effects of controlled drugs,” she told presiding magistrate Susan Burton, sitting with one colleague.
“The area has been blighted by drug dealers, whose criminal activities have become entrenched and resilient to traditional enforcement.
“This has resulted in turf war and disputes between rival factions which has led to continual threats, serious acts of violence and other associated criminality which, in turn, has undermined attempts by the police and their partners to instil confidence and reassure the community by making them feel safe.
“The impact on the community has been hugely detrimental and despite the continued best efforts of conventional policing and partners this criminality has continued.”
By investigating the trafficking of class A and B drugs and associated criminality, Nemesis identified organised crime groups and their members, she explained.
Mrs Newman said: “The intention has been to target these groups, gather evidence against them and ultimately disrupt and dismantle their activities.”
Properly trained, authorised, monitored and directed undercover operatives were deployed during Nemesis, she said.
Mrs Newman spoke before 15 suspects appeared in the dock over four-and-a-half hours in court one, which was reserved for processing them.
Other cases were dealt with in other courtrooms.
Some defendants appeared in pairs while others appeared individually as up to three police officers monitored up to two dozen onlookers in the public gallery.
A few attempted to disrupt proceedings by apologising repeatedly for causing disturbances or coughing unnecessarily.
But they were given short shrift by clerk Cathy Sweetland and her colleagues, while police ejected one or two when their behaviour threatened to get out of hand.