Pubdate: Tue, 18 Jan 2005
Source: Eastern Daily Press (UK)
Copyright: 2005, Archant Regional
Author: Richard Balls
Bookmark: (Cocaine)
Bookmark: (Heroin)


Drug dealers and 'crack houses' are to feel the full force of Norfolk 
police as part of a nationwide campaign which also aims to help treat their 
tragic victims.

The activities of heroin and crack cocaine suppliers operating at all 
levels will be disrupted by teams of officers and locations used not only 
for the sale of drugs, but public places used by addicts will be targeted.

Norfolk police have recorded some significant victories against drug 
dealing gangs from London, Liverpool and elsewhere, with 40 people recently 
jailed for 140 years as a result of a covert operations in the Yarmouth area.

Operation Crackdown is a three-month initiative being run by the Home 
Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and aims to 
close drug dens, disrupt local drug markets, seize illegal firearms and 
bring dealers to justice.

Officers will work in close contact with councils, treatment agencies and 
drug action teams in order to help addicts break the cycle.

DCI Barry Lister said there were about 8000 people in the county recognised 
as having serious drug habits and, of these, about 1000 were 'poly-users' 
using both heroin and crack. Although crack cocaine was widely used by 
addicts, research and intelligence suggested that heroin remained the most 
popular Class A drug.

Crucial to the success of Operation Crackdown would be the response of the 
public and he appealed to people to report signs of possible drug dealing 
activity such as groups gathering around telephone kiosks or in public 
parks and streams of people coming and going from flats.

"We will be looking at where there are crack houses with the potential of 
using the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 to close them down," said DCI Lister.

"That is any place that sells Class A drugs or where the drugs can be used 
by addicts. If anyone has a house like that near to them, we want to hear 
about it.

"Where we have seen this type of premises start to operate we have taken 
immediate action to shut them down or stop that activity. In Norfolk, we 
have seen a lot of drug trafficking in open street markets and we have had 
some wonderful responses from the public which have led to the excellent 
results we have had."

Dealers at all levels will be targeted and contrary to the stereotype, many 
of those who supply drugs have little money and their motivation for 
dealing is to fund their own habits.

DCI Lister stressed: "Drug dealers start at the lowest level and are often 
addicts themselves, supplying the drugs either as a way of paying for their 
own habit or repaying debts. These type of people are often the ones who 
stand out on the street and sell drugs."
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