SUSPECTED drug dealers were woken with a start when police smashed their way into their homes in a major operation yesterday.
Scores of officers raided 13 properties across Bournemouth in one of the biggest operations in the county in recent years – with 16 people arrested for dealing heroin and crack cocaine.
Those arrested include a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of supplying class A drugs. The others are seven men and eight women aged between 18 and 51.
The early morning raids were followed by further surprise operations later in the day.
The Daily Echo joined one team as they targeted flats in Boscombe and Charminster yesterday morning. Officers smashed through a door at a flat in Christchurch Road before moving on to two properties in Carysfort Road and another in Portchester Road.
Thorough searches were carried out and police sniffer dogs brought in to search out illegal drugs.
Bournemouth East Inspector Chris Weeks said the “focused day of action” was planned due to concerns from members of the public about street dealing.
“If you tell us crimes are being committed, we will do something about it,” he said.
“The communities have told us they are concerned about street dealing and the anti-social behaviour connected to it.
“Arrests have been made throughout the day, ensuring that those who are involved in street drug dealing will be dealt with.”
He said the operation was a huge success and action would continue to stamp out drug-related crime, but stressed that crime and disorder in the area was at a five year low.
“The message to anyone involved in on-street drug dealing is quite simple – if you are drug dealing, it will not be tolerated and you will be arrested,” he added.
Bournemouth Council cabinet member for regeneration Jane Kelly said: “We are pleased that this sort of operation has been carried out by the police and it shows that they are listening to residents.”
To report suspected drug crime call Dorset Police on 101 in confidence.