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Nine arrested in overnight raids targeting violent criminals in capital

Police seized a machine gun and ammunition, as well as cash and suspected class A drugs.

A series of police raids in the capital have struck a “massive blow” to a notorious and violent gang, with a Skorpion machine gun and ammunition, cash, and suspected class A drugs seized.

Some 200 officers smashed in doors across west London overnight, arresting nine people, including some believed to be senior figures in the lucrative crack cocaine and heroin-dealing outfit, Scotland Yard said.

An alleged drug-running boy, aged 14, arrested at his family home, was among those detained in eight raids in the Northolt, Greenford, Fulham and Brentford areas.

The arrests were connected to the established “MDP” gang, police said, which has been linked with several murders.

Those detained were held over offences such as conspiracy to supply drugs and possession of firearms.

At a house in Dorchester Close, Northolt, young children could be heard crying as dozens of officers flooded inside shouting: “Police”.

Elsewhere, as a police squad crept up to one seemingly empty address in Stephendale Road, Fulham, officers noticed a 30-year-old suspect sitting in a car.

During a search officers found a Skorpion machine pistol along with another handgun, 40 rounds of ammunition, and a kilo of suspected class A drugs, Scotland Yard said.

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Officers secure a man in a police van (John Stillwell/PA)

Detective Inspector Driss Hayoukane said: “This is a massive blow to an established gang.

“What we’ve taken out is probably a line which has been supplying the Earl’s Court and Fulham areas. This gang have been running that line for quite a while and making a lot of money.

“These gangs have corrupted children and are using them to ferry drugs.

“If you look across London these are the kids that are getting involved in violence and stabbings because they are generally on the streets while the suppliers are removed from it, collecting the cash.”

Key gangsters drove flashy cars and showed off their wealth online with luxury holidays to places like Dubai, he added.

One address in Earl’s Court had been “cuckooed”, which happens when criminals take over a vulnerable person’s or drug addict’s flat to sell drugs from it – named after the parasitic practice of the cuckoo bird which lays its eggs in other birds’ nests.

Overall, six males and three females, aged between 14 and 49, were arrested in the early hours of Thursday and are now in custody.

The operation was the result of about six months of planning by the Met’s anti-gang Trident unit.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had been on patrol in Hackney, inner London, on Wednesday evening, where she said gang tensions were high after a spate of stabbings in recent weeks, including the killing of 18-year-old Israel Ogunsola.

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Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick briefs the media ahead of the raids (John Stillwell/PA)

Speaking to reporters shortly before the raids, she said the suspects had been causing “devastation” and “fear” in communities.

She said: “They are very violent, several of them have a history of serious violence, at least one is suspected of regularly using a firearm.

“They will be arrested – not only have they been, as it appears to us, supplying crack cocaine and heroin, they’ve been making a huge amount of money.

“They’ve been exploiting vulnerable people and very young people have been engaged in the drug-dealing operation. So they need to be locked up.”

She added: “When I arrived just over a year ago we’ve been stepping up our anti-violence operations, we’ve been learning along the way.

“In the last two weeks or so, and in particular since last weekend, we’ve been doing more and more. The Met is working very hard.”

Asked if raids had been stepped up following a recent rise in violent crime in London, DI Hayoukane said: “It’s business as usual for us, our unit works to capacity all the time.”

Since the start of the year, there have been more than 50 suspected murders in London.

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