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Weapons found during cocaine raids in Romford, Dagenham, and Brentwood

Imitation firearms are among the haul of weapons seized.

Police have raided properties in Romford, Dagenham, Brentwood, and Grays in an operation to tackle cocaine dealers.

18 people, including 15 men and three women, have been arrested on suspicion of offences ranging from possession of drugs to possession with intent to supply and being concerned in the supply of drugs.

Essex Police launched an investigation in February after receiving information from the Brentwood community on the supply of drugs in bars and pubs in the town centre.

This morning, dawn raids were carried out at a number of addresses across the Brentwood borough, as well as in Romford, Dagenham, and Grays.

Drugs and weapons were recovered during the raids.

In a statement, Essex Police said: “Supported by Brentwood Borough Council, who also provided additional resources to support the policing operation, Essex Police began investigating Class A drug dealing in the town centre and building a picture on individuals.

“The investigation culminated today, Wednesday June 12, with the execution of more than 20 warrants across Brentwood. Properties in Dagenham and Romford were also targeted.”

Imitation firearms, knives, weapons, cash, and drugs were seized by police.

Those detained range from 18 to 58-years-old and are all still in police custody.

16 arrests have been made so far in today’s operation.

Chief Insp Lewis Basford, District Commander for Brentwood, said: “We are continuing to take our fight to the people who think they can sell drugs on the streets of our county.

“People may think that taking cocaine on their night out on a Friday or Saturday doesn’t harm anyone but they are wrong.

“There is a human cost to every single drug sold illegally. Someone, whether that is a child or vulnerable person, will have been exploited to get that drug from the person at the top of the drug dealing chain to the individual buying that on the street.

“It may be that a child is trafficked into transporting those drug packages for a dealer, or it may be that someone with a drug habit is exploited into selling cocaine and is subjected to violence unless they comply.

“Every single wrap of cocaine will be at the cost of someone’s blood or tears and we would ask people to think about that the next time they think about taking it for a laugh or a good night out.

“As this operation shows, however long it takes we will target those who think they can sell drugs on the streets of our communities.

“I would like to reassure the residents of Brentwood that where we receive information that criminals, gangs or drug dealers are active in their area we will, as today shows, act on that.

“I would also like to send a clear message to drug dealers and criminals that they are not welcome on the streets of Brentwood or Essex.”

The operation has received support from Brentwood Borough Council Leader Chris Hossack, who said: “I would like to thank the police for this morning’s successful operation which sends a powerful message to all would-be drug dealers out there, that this will not be tolerated in Brentwood.

“By bringing together months of intelligence work from the police, information from the community and resource support from the council we have been able to close down an operation that had spread beyond Brentwood.

“We are rightly proud of where we live and we will continue to support the police in their efforts to eradicate not just drug crime, but all crime, from our streets and community.”

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