Police have arrested a total of 18 people following a major drugs swoop over the past four days.
In the first-ever operation of its kind, a drugs dog was deployed around clubs in Londonderry city centre on Saturday night to sniff out possible offenders. Four arrests were made.
This followed a raid on 13 houses in the Waterside, Bogside and Galliagh areas of the city, which resulted in quantities of suspected cocaine, amphetamine and cannabis being seized.
A total of 14 people were arrested in the house raids, 11 of them for drugs offences, including two suspected of supplying drugs.
It has now emerged that over the past year in Derry alone, more than £1 million in drugs has been seized and thirty-seven people have been charged with supplying drugs.
The latest ‘Operation Denbreaker’ raids were led by PSNI Inspector Jon Burrows, who today warned that more operations will now follow right across Northern Ireland.
Speaking of the most recent operation involving the drugs labrador called Max, Insp Burrows said:
“The dog can detect illegal drugs on people as they walk by and indicates this to police who can then search the person. Four people were arrested for possessing suspected cocaine and cannabis, including one arrest for supply of cocaine.”
He added: “Our Chief Constable has stated that we are committed to personal and protective policing. Over the last number of days and indeed over the past year, we have been delivering
that — local police officers engaging with the community and protecting the community from illegal drugs and those who supply them. Our city and its people are safer for that.
“We have been listening to the community and they have told us that tackling drug crime is a priority for them, so it is a priority for the police.
“Our success in tackling drug crime in the last year is a powerful testament to community focused, partnership policing. The public entrusting us with information about drugs and the police — through effective operations — are seizing illegal drugs and locking up drug dealers. That's the business end of community policing and we are all safer for that. “
Derry city centre manager Jim Roddy today told the Telegraph he welcomed the deployment of the drugs dog in the city centre in a bid to tackle the scourge.