POLICE have seized a large amount of Class A drugs and arrested five men in a major drugs operation in Dorchester.

Officers swooped on an address in Challacombe Street, Poundbury, and searched other properties in the area.

Five men were arrested and have since been released on bail while inquiries continue.

A car was also searched in the operation which took place on Friday afternoon and continued into the evening.

Officers recovered substances, believed to be Class A controlled drugs, from a vehicle and at the property in Poundbury.

DC Mark Price, of Poole CID where the investigation is being dealt with by the Major Crime Unit, said: “A large quantity of drugs, believed to be Class A, have been seized from an address in Challacombe Street, Pound-bury.

“Five persons were subsequently arrested and have since been interviewed and released on bail.

“The investigation is very much ongoing at this time.”

The operation comes as residents express fears over a rise in crime generally in Poundbury, Prince Charles’s model estate.

Margaret Morrissey, chairman of Poundbury Residents’ Association, said there had been a rise in crime in the Poundbury area in recent weeks.

She said: “I was aware there were issues going on with the police in this area.

“There’s been a spate in the last few weeks and we’ve seen a change not just in Poundbury but around Bridport Road and Maud Road.

“Every other day there is some sort of incident, we get a huge amount of burglaries and I’ve contacted the police about it.

“Crime has been on the rise in the area. Five years ago there was nothing and I felt safe to leave the back door unlocked when I went out but now I wouldn’t feel safe doing that even if I was in the house.”

Mrs Morrissey added: “I don’t think this incident in Poundbury is exclusive, I expect there are many other streets in Dorchester where you could go and make similar arrests.

“It seems as if the area has been targeted and it could be drugs related.

“We should all be very concerned about what’s happening in Dorchester.

“I think we have got to be very careful in the town because it’s such a lovely place and we are used to nothing like this happening.”

‘ A Blight On Our Society’

West Dorset district councillor and Dorchester Town Crier Alistair Chisholm said: “Drugs are a blight on our society, particularly for young people who can go well astray if they get tempted into drugs at an early age.

“It can destroy lives and families. Drug problems are very widespread and this shows that despite the quiet attractiveness of a small market town like Dorchester it’s in no way free from this very, very nasty business.

“We can all be vigilant and honest enough to accept that our community can suffer as much as other urban ones.”