A major raid to crack down on drug dealing street gangs in east London has led to 35 arrests.

Trident and Area Crime Command alongside borough command have been trawling Tower Hamlets and Newham since autumn and Wednesday (April 27) saw the final phase with a series of raids involving up to 100 officers.

A total of 40 addresses were targeted over the course of the operation, of which 29 were in Tower Hamlets. Wednesday’s operation targeted 12 addresses in Tower Hamlets and three in Newham, resulting in nine arrests.

One was a dawn raid on a social housing block in Roffey Street on the Isle of Dogs where they uncovered what appeared to be a cannabis farm.

It was one of two farms the police discovered along with more than 1,000 rocks of class A drugs and more than £5,000 in cash during the campaign.

The 33 men and two women aged between 16 and 42 were arrested over the past few weeks on suspicion of a range of offences, predominantly the supply of class A drugs.

Many remain in custody at east London police stations, while a number have now been charged.

Final phase

Det Insp Rick Sewart from the Trident Central Gangs Unit said: “These raids are the final phase of an operation that has taken meticulous preparation by our specialist team and fulfils one of our main objectives – to take harmful gang members off the streets and make our communities safer.

“It is part of the continuous work we do to identify, track down and bring to account the most prolific offenders linked to street gangs.

“For the small number who choose to affiliate to this harmful lifestyle, our message is clear – accept the specialist support on offer to leave criminality behind - or face the consequences that are coming to you.

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Acting Det Supt Mike Hamer, lead for Tower Hamlets gang crime unit, said: “This long-term operation is an excellent example of the successful tactics we are employing to reduce the criminal activity that fuels violence in the borough.

“Working together with our Trident colleagues and partners from the local authority, it shows our joint determination to enforce the law against those who want to bring harm into our local communities.

“It’s not just about enforcement - we have a range of opportunities on offer to help divert those at risk of getting drawn into gangs in the first place or want to leave.”

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