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 Eight arrests following crackdown on suspected drug dealers


​EIGHT people have today been arrested in a series of early-morning raids targeting suspected drug dealers across County Durham and Darlington.

At 7.30am this morning, teams of officers swooped on properties in Newton Aycliffe, Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Ushaw Moor.

Simultaneous raids were also carried out at addresses in the West Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cleveland areas on behalf of Durham Constabulary.

More than 80 officers and support staff were involved in the operation, which resulted in five men aged between 21 and 45 and a woman aged 21 arrested in County Durham.

A 42-year-old man was also arrested in West Yorkshire, while a 24-year-old man was arrested in Lancashire.

All were detained on suspicion of conspiracy to supply of Class A drugs (cocaine), and some on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class B drugs (cannabis).

A four-figure sum of cash was also seized, as well as a motorbike, a quantity of cannabis, jewellery, a machete and two air weapons. 

The raids were part of Operation Sledgehammer, the force’s long-running campaign to tackle serious and organised crime.

Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Lawrence, from Durham Constabulary, said: “Today’s operation has been a huge success and is the culmination of months of hard work and investigation.

“It would not have been possible without the support we have had from local communities who continue to come forward with vital pieces of information about ongoing drug crime in their area.

“I hope today’s action send out a clear message that we will not tolerate criminality of this nature in our force area, and we will take action to dismantle, disrupt and destroy these networks.”

Chief Inspector Sarah Honeyman, from Newton Aycliffe Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “Over the next few days, our neighbourhood officers will be out in the areas around the target properties to provide reassurance and answer any questions residents may have about the operation.

“If anyone suspects drug dealing is taking place in their neighbourhood we would urge them to come forward and report it to us so we can take the appropriate action.”

Anyone with any information about drug dealing and crime in their area should call Durham Constabulary on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.