More than £7,000 worth of drugs has been taken off the streets and 40 people arrested after a series of police raids in the north-east, the Evening Express can reveal.
Detectives began a crackdown on drug dealing, named Operation Corner, on October 19 and officers have since searched a total of 28 properties in Peterhead, Fraserburgh, St Combs and Boddam.
Sniffer dogs were taken in to each property as part of a detailed search for illegal substances. The Evening Express was invited along to watch the raids take place.
Police have so far arrested 30 men and 10 women as part of the operation.
Officers have also recovered £7,000 worth of heroin, cocaine and cannabis from the properties, as well as £9,000 in cash.
At least 11 people have appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court in connection with the raids. The operation is expected to end tomorrow.
The focus of Operation Corner was to target gangs based in the north-west of England sending criminals to the north-east with drugs – a trend known as county lines offences.
Criminals often force addicts to use their own home to sell drugs to settle debts – a process known as cuckooing.
Police have said the operation is aimed at disruption the gangs and providing support to victims of county lines offences and cuckooing.
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Detective Chief Inspector Lorna Ferguson said: “Tackling drug misuse is not just about the police putting doors in and executing warrants.
“While this is an important part of disrupting the supply, we must also address the wider issues that bring about drug abuse in the first place.
“Working with our partners, we are focused on providing the wrap-around support to those who need and want it, to end the cycle that drug abuse brings and ultimately reduce the demand.”
One woman, who asked not to be named, lives on a street where one of the raids took place.
She said: “It has had a big impact on my health.
“You hear noise all the time, with people coming and going – loud music and shouting and arguing.
“It is not just something that you hear during the day, but also in the middle of the night too. I’ve barely slept.
“I am so glad the police have done something.
“There are kids who live on this street and things will be so much quieter for all the families now.”
Detective Inspector Rob Sim from the Organised Crime and Counter Terrorism Unit in Aberdeen said: “This operation has been commissioned to target organised crime groups we know are operating in our local communities as well as to target the local drug dealers they are using at street level.
“We will continue to work with other law enforcement partners throughout the UK in order to identify and take action against those who are profiting from the illegal supply of controlled drugs here in the north east, regardless of where they are based.”
Aberdeenshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership team lead Wayne Gault said: “Many of the individuals that suffer with addictions are distressed and in crisis.
“They are the victims of unscrupulous drug dealers who are only concerned about the money they can make.
“In many cases, these people are themselves vulnerable and anything that we can do to break the cycle of addiction and harm is absolutely the right thing to do.”