Man held as PSNI launch major drugs crackdown
A man in his 30s has been arrested in west Belfast on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs.
Local police and officers from the Operational Support Unit searched four homes in the Lower Shankill neighbourhood.
Up to five other houses were targeted in the greater Shankill area. More than 50 officers and a helicopter were reported at the scene.
The drugs suspect was taken to Musgrave Police Station for questioning.
The PSNI said that the operation was part of the force's "ongoing commitment to tackle the supply of illegal drugs in the Belfast area".
They reported that a number of items were removed from properties for examination.
Community leaders expressed their frustration over the searches, however, and questioned the PSNI's approach.
Ian McLaughlin, project manager for the Lower Shankill Community Association, said: "If in fact there are no large amounts of drugs recovered then one has to question the veracity of the PSNI's intelligence.
"From a community perspective, I must question the merits of huge resources being spent on fruitless drug searches.
"I would ask the PSNI, 'Why did you waste thousands of pounds from our ever-shrinking police budget when in reality these high-grade searches produce zero results?'"
McLaughlin added that he was "100 %" supportive of the PSNI's "invaluable work" in protecting life and the community.
He called for greater dialogue between the police and residents.