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Ellie Taylor & Anna Whitehouse 10pm - 1am
More than 30 people have been arrested in a series of early morning raids tackling drug dealing and organised crime in Kent.
In a major crackdown, more than 120 officers have taken part in co-ordinated raids at homes across Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey, targeting criminals running Class A drug networks and their proven links to offences such as theft, burglary and car crime.
Yesterday morning, police conducted warrants at several address. In total 15 people were arrested for drugs offences and taken into police custody.
Today more raids were carried out, and so far today (9.45am) 18 further arrests for drugs and related offences have been made.
This comes as part of an operation involving the local police and the expertise of the joint Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate who investigate serious organised crime groups.
Area Commander for Mid Kent, Chief Superintendent Matthew Nix comments: “These raids are just the start of a month long operation to disrupt the major Class A drugs supply networks which have been set up in Swale. We understand the far-reaching consequences this has for the local community, bringing an inevitable underbelly of crime, such as burglary and car thefts.
“Kent Police will not tolerate criminality in any of its guises and it’s why we are taking swift intervention to close down the networks and deal with its effects. A period of consolidation is now underway, to help improve the lives of local residents.
“On the back of this success against criminal networks, we are launching a major offensive against anti-social behaviour in the area. Not only will we be working closely with drug treatment services to get help to those who need it, but we will be engaging with residents right at the heart of the Swale community, tackling with our partners everything from flytipping to untaxed vehicles.
“I want to stress that the local police and our partners will be here for the long haul. We will be in the communities, dealing with issues that matter locally to residents. Furthermore, we are keen to hear the feedback from local people if they know crime is taking place, as we want to take a real stand against those who come to the area to commit crime. It won’t be tolerated and we will bring them to justice.”
Assistant Chief Constable Alan Pughsley, who leads the new Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, is extremely pleased with the success of this operation so far. He said:
"The Serious Crime Directorate is there to tackle serious and organised criminality at all levels. We work closely with our colleagues across Kent and Essex to provide intelligence and tactical support to target organised criminal groups like these ones across Swale which have been hit hard over the last few days.
“The positive impact an operation on this scale can have on our communities is huge and I hope it clearly demonstrates how committed we are to dealing with the crime and anti-social behaviour that affects residents the most by taking out those criminals causing the greatest harm in our neighbourhoods."