Eight people have been arrested in Blyth this morning as part of an operation to tackle drug dealing in the town.
Raids took place on Thursday morning in response to community concerns in the Northumberland town.
Police carried out search warrants at addresses in Blyth and the eight people were arrested on suspicion of drugs offences and are currently in custody helping with enquiries.
The action follows an investigation carried out in direct response to concerns raised by the community in the town, as well as results of the Safer Communities Survey, which raised tackling drug use and supply as a priority for residents.
At two homes in Hortondale Grove, a 48-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs, while a 37-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs.
A woman aged 28 was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.
At Beaumont Street, a woman aged 46 was arrested on suspicion of offering to supply Class A drugs, while at Gladstone Street a 26-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.
At Salisbury Street a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of supplying a Class A drug, while at Marlow Street a man aged 24 was arrested on suspicion on supplying a Class A drug. At Laburnum Avenue a man aged 47 was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply class a drugs. A man aged 21 and a woman aged 36 were arrested at two addresses at Benridge Park, both on suspicion of supplying a Class A drug.
And at Milldale Avenue, a 38-year-old woman was arrested for supplying a Class A drug.
Warrants were also carried out at Chancery Lane, Ingoe Close and William Street, and searches were carried out.
All those arrested are currently in custody helping with enquiries.
The investigation is into the supply of heroin in Blyth and a number of vehicles were also seized during the operation.
Chief Superintendent Dianne Winship, Northumberland Area Commander, said: “We’ve carried out a full and thorough investigation and this morning’s activity is a culmination of those enquiries.
“I’d like to stress that this mainly involves individuals who all know each other and involves drug dealing which is specifically contained amongst a small group of people in Blyth.
“The action is in direct response to concerns raised by residents as well as results of surveys, which raised drug supply as an area the local community would like police to address.
“We are absolutely committed to tackling the issues raised by residents and I hope today’s activity reassures them action can and will be taken when they tell us what concerns them most.”
The operation has been welcomed by Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). Tackling the supply of illegal drugs is a priority for Vera Baird in her police and crime plan. The PCC said: “The use and supply of illegal drugs can ruin lives and blight our neighbourhoods.
“I am committed to ensuring that police will focus relentlessly on the people causing harm in our communities – in particular those involved in the supply of illegal drugs.
“I welcome this operation which was carried out in response to concerns raised by local people, and I hope this successful police activity will reassure residents that work is being done to tackle the issues that affect them.
“It is well known that the use of illegal drugs can also lead to associated crimes such as theft and burglary.
“As a result of this police operation, and with the help of the public, officers have taken harmful drugs off the streets of Blyth and targeted those people involved in drug related crime.”
Representatives from Homes for Northumberland also accompanied officers at the raids, issuing warning letters that legal action could be taken against tenants in light of the police activity.
Samantha Mason, director of neighbourhood services at Homes for Northumberland, said: “Our customers’ welfare is at the forefront of everything we do and we are fully committed to providing safe neighbourhoods and communities in which to live.
“When this means taking action against the small number of tenants who disrupt this we will not hesitate to do so in partnership with Northumbria Police.”
Chief Superintendent Winship added that community information has been vital throughout.
She said: “We’ve had great support from the public and I’d like to thank them for coming forward with information which has helped this investigation.
“The vast majority of the town are law-abiding and there is no place for anything which has a negative impact on the quality of life of others. I’d urge anyone with information about crime and disorder to get in touch with us so we can take action.
“We’re also keen to ensure anyone affected by the activity of the individuals suspected of being involved get the right support and we’re working with partners to ensure that support is available.”
Police can be contacted on 101 ext 69191.
For anyone who needs help with alcohol and drug issues they an contact Turning Point on 01670 396 303.