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£1.5m of drugs seized in crackdown

Published 07/05/2015

Herbal cannabis was the main drug seized in the raids
Herbal cannabis was the main drug seized in the raids

Drugs worth almost £1.5 million and cash totalling £44,000 have been seized during a police crackdown on street dealers.

A total of 357 suspects were arrested, 78 of whom were charged, during the three-month operation.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers also carried out 1823 searches and made 704 seizures.

Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said: "We've invested a considerable amount of time and effort into this campaign and it has delivered worthwhile outcomes."

Herbal cannabis was the principal drug seized with an estimated £1.17 million worth taken off the streets between February and April, ACC Kerr said.

The senior officer added: " Although this operation has concluded, drugs will remain a policing priority.

"We will continue to disrupt and arrest those involved in the sale and supply of drugs, bring individuals before the courts and work with communities and partner agencies to reduce the threat of harmful and illegal activity."

Justice Minister David Ford described drug dealers as a scourge on society.

He said: "I commend the PSNI for their continuing work to remove drugs from our streets and bring perpetrators to justice.

"However, there is no room for complacency, as the impact of illicit drug use on individuals, families and communities can be devastating."

The policing operation was run in conjunction with a public information campaign highlighting the dangers of illegal drug abuse.

Crimestoppers reported a 23% increase on the number of anonymous tip-offs received regarding drug dealers.

Peter Stafford, the charity's chairman, said: " Information has increased by 23% on last year's campaign, which is an indication that people do care about fighting crime in their community.

"We understand that picking up the phone to give information can be an incredibly difficult thing to do, and this is why we'd encourage you to use our anonymous service to report a drug dealer in your area, safe in the knowledge they will never know you spoke to us."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership said: "It's encouraging that the Drug Dealers Don't Care campaign would appear to be having some impact in helping to tackle the scourge of drugs on our streets and in our communities."

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