Six people have been arrested in Burton as part of a police operation aimed at cutting drug supply lines into the town.
Four people were arrested this morning, Thursday, October 19, as police officers targeted three addresses in early morning raids.
The Burton Mail went along to one of the raids, where two people were asleep in the house the Horninglow area of Burton, when the police arrived. Officers used a steel battering ram called 'the enforcer' to break down the door and gain entry.
The two suspects in the house were searched by police and detained while officers searched the property. The officers found a quantity of a Class A drug.
A 51-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were arrested in connection with possession of Class A drugs. They were taken to Burton Police Station in Horninglow Street where they are being questioned by detectives.
At another address in Waterloo Road, an 18-year-old woman from Birmingham and a 31-year-old man from Burton were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Officers seized what is believed to be heroin and cocaine from the properties, as well as cash and a knife. All four remain in custody at Burton Police Station.
Yesterday evening, Wednesday, October 18, officers arrested two Birmingham men, aged 19 and 20, at an address in the town centre on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs.
Chief Inspector Jason Nadin, of East Staffordshire Local Policing Team, said: "We've made arrests overnight and four more arrests this morning as our work continues to tackle organised criminal activity and the supply of illegal drugs within our community.
"We will act fast and decisively to take drugs off Staffordshire streets to keep our communities safe from harm and to protect the vulnerable. We would welcome any information members of the public can share with us."
The raids were carried out as part of Operation Yarrow. It was launched to disrupt the supply line of Class A drugs, known as 'County Lines'. Properties were targeted and arrests have been made in Burton, Wolverhampton, Stoke-on-Trent, Shrewsbury, Worcester, Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and Stafford.
This type of criminal activity involves groups operating from large urban areas and moving to smaller and more rural towns, using force or coercion on vulnerable members of the community to take over their properties and to distribute drugs.
Chief Inspector Nadin added: "When drugs are brought into an area, other crimes tend to increase as well. We will usually see offences like motor vehicle thefts, burglaries and shoplifting increase as drug users try to feed their habit.
"We work closely with other agencies on operations like this. We are working with local addiction support groups in the area, because people who are addicted to these drugs may not be able to feed their addictions and so will need support."
So far in Operation Yarrow, officers have arrested 54 people and seized class A and B drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis. Cash and weapons have also been seized including knives and Samurai swords.
Officers from West Midlands Police, Staffordshire Police, West Mercia Police, Warwickshire Police, Central Motorways Policing Group and the British Transport Police have all collaborated on the operation. Forces have been sharing intelligence and co-ordinating the two-week long operation, which was led by the Regional Organised Crime Unit.
Superintendent Scott Jones, from the Regional Organised Crime Unit, said: "This operation was all about working together across the region for maximum effect to disrupt the dealers and to protect the vulnerable in our communities.
"Adult drug users, vulnerable women and younger members of the community are exploited for their properties - which is sometimes referred to as cuckooing - or to store or deal Class A drugs.
"They are also used for the transportation of the drugs across the country. We won't tolerate this activity in our communities and will do everything we can to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people."
Detective Chief Superintendent Javid Oomer, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Working with our colleagues across the region we will act fast and decisively to take drugs off our streets to keep our communities safe from harm and to protect the vulnerable. If you suspect relatives or friends are being targeted please call us.
"We're sending out a clear message to those who want to prey on the vulnerable: we will find you and bring you before the courts."
Meanwhile, at Burton Railway Station, officers were keeping a watchful eye on people coming to and leaving the town. Julie Hargreaves from the force's dog handling unit was at the station with her police dog Emma.
PC Hargreaves said they would be there for much of the day and had already stopped one person who had been in the presence of drugs, according to sniffer dog Emma, but didn't have any with them.
PC Hargreaves and Emma were joined by officers from British Transport Police, who were also part of the operation.
Detective Chief Inspector Gareth Davies, of British Transport Police, said: "Where the British Transport Police has intelligence that the rail network is being used to support any kind of criminal activity, we work in partnership with other forces and agencies to prevent and disrupt it.
"We believe that these partnerships are paramount to tackling any exploitation of vulnerable people and so are very pleased with the outcome of this operation. We look forward to bringing any offenders to justice."
Anyone who has any concerns about drug activity in their area is advised to call the non-emergency number 101. Alternatively, residents can anonymously give information to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.