A major crackdown on drug dealing in Blackpool has seen £5,000 of heroin and other substances seized by police who today warned: “There is more to come.”
High level criminals have been targeted during a three-month operation launched by police in the town centre that has already resulted in 26 arrests.
It follows a string of complaints that dealers were selling drugs in plain sight in parks and on the streets in Claremont and Talbot wards.
Insp James Martin, of Blackpool Police, spoke today for the first time about the investigation, code-named Operation Warrior. He said: “To have children playing on the street next to people doing drugs is not right.
“My concern is it’s so overt – during the day, people can see people dealing drugs. We have gone very high profile and disrupted street dealing.”
One man has already been locked up for two years after being caught with 24 wraps of heroin, while 18 people are on bail and another in custody while police decide whether to press charges.
My concern is it’s so overt – during the day, people can see people dealing drugs.Insp James Martin
They are suspected of offences including possession of class A and B drugs, money laundering, possession of weapons and affray. Three people have been cautioned.
As well as the drugs, which were split into hundreds of individual deals ready to be sold on the street, police have also seized weapons during the operation.
Insp Martin added: “Each person generally buys one or two of these deals so the disruption by finding someone with that many deals on them is huge.
“There have been some significant arrests in relation to higher level dealers, people who are distributing to the dealers and also the street dealers themselves.
“The operation has had the desired effect. It continues and will do for the foreseeable future – there is more to come.”
He said drug problems in the resort are linked to a wide range of offences as users turn to crime to fund their habits.
He added: “You get vulnerable people who get bullied into letting drug dealers deal from their house.”
Dave Blacker, chairman of the Talbot PACT group, welcomed the crack-down and said issues of anti-social behaviour linked to drugs are “never off the agenda”.
He added: “We also need to get people away from that lifestyle that can be so damaging.”
He urged residents to continue coming forward with information to allow police to continue disrupting the drug dealers.
He said: “We have listened to what the community has been telling us and acted on it.
“Nearly every alleyway in Blackpool has an alley gate. We need those to be locked. If you leave it open, it will be exploited for dealing.”