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14 arrested as police target ‘prolific drug dealers’ in violent crime crackdown

185 officers swooped on 15 properties in the Lewisham, Southwark and Wembley areas of London and seized vast quantities of drugs and a suspected gun.

Police targeting some of south-east London’s “most prolific drug dealers” have arrested 14 suspects in dawn raids.

Some 185 officers raided 15 properties on Wednesday morning, with senior police figures believing the intelligence-led operation could lead to a drop in violent crime in parts of the capital.

Scotland Yard set out hoping to smash a violent drug-dealing network – and seized vast quantities of Class A drugs and a suspected handgun.

The bulk of the drugs were being supplied in the New Cross area, police said.

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Police officers prepare to raid an address in Peckham, south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

One woman and 13 men, aged between 18 and 48, were arrested during the swoop, according to Scotland Yard.

They are being held on suspicion of drug-related offences at several south London police stations.

Officers found what appeared to be a handgun wrapped in a sock at one property.

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Police seized what appeared to be a handgun inside a sock during the raids (Metropolitan Police/PA)

The lone female suspect, 48, was arrested on suspicion of a firearm as well as possession of Class A drugs, police said.

Large amounts of cocaine, heroin and crack cocaine were also recovered during during searches.

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A police officer removes drugs and other evidence from an address in New Cross, south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)]

Shouts of “Police” had shattered the early-morning peace when officers wearing helmets stormed houses in Lewisham and Southwark in south-east London, and Wembley in the north-west of the city.

At one address in New Cross a panicked occupant threw a suspected class A drugs package out of the window – which was caught by an officer below.

It was found to contain what is suspected to be more than 200 rocks of cocaine and heroin.

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A knife was recovered from an address in New Cross, south London, during the raids (Metropolitan Police/PA)

A rucksack containing a knife and large quantities of suspected drugs was found near the Wembley address, police said.

Temporary Detective Superintendent Andy Furphy said: “Today’s activity has seen us target some of the most prolific drug dealers in the borough who cause misery and are a blight on our community.

“We know that drugs and violent crime are intrinsically linked and believe some of these suspects may have links to recent offences of violence we have seen across the borough.

“As part of today’s operation we were assisted by Lewisham Council and the Children’s Society, who are helping us work to safeguard any vulnerable or exploited individuals identified as part of the policing activity.

“We remain resolute in our efforts to target those involved in criminality and will continue to take all possible action to disrupt their activity and reduce the levels of violence taking place on our streets.”

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Police officers raid an address in Peckham, south London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Fifteen addresses were raided in total – 12 in Lewisham, two in Southwark and one in Wembley.

Some suspects were linked to gangs, known to carry knives and had been involved in violent crime in the past, police said.

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A man is arrested in south London during a series of raids to tackle an organised crime network (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Detectives are probing the network for any “county lines” activity, to find out if drugs were being taken outside the capital and supplied to neighbouring counties.

Geeta Subramaniam, director of public protection and safety at Lewisham Council, said she hoped the operation would reduce crime in the area and deter others from falling into drug dealing.

She said she had been working to educate teenagers about the dangers, saying: “It’s so hard for kids once they’re in these criminal networks to get out.”

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