Police, supported by armed officers in some cases, have raided 10 residential addresses across Peterborough this morning, Wednesday August 17.
An intelligence led operation to bring down a Class A drug ring dealing in cocaine began in February, resulting in warrants being carried out and doors kicked in at 10 addresses in central Peterborough, Whittlesey and Stanground today.
The Peterborough Telegraph was granted access to Operation Keep in Newark Avenue as the simultaneous raids took place at around 8am.
Eight men and two women have been arrested following the action, undertaken by around 100 officers from the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit.
The operation started with a 7am briefing for all the teams involved at Cambridgeshire Police’s Headquarters in Huntingdon. Officers had been brought in from neighbouring forces including Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to assist with the early morning busts.
Officers were told that surveillance had observed the 10 suspects involved in the drugs ring living luxurious lifestyles, purchasing Lamborghinis, taking expensive holidays abroad to Dubai and enjoying a very comfortable, social lifestyle.
With unmarked cars loaded with equipment to break down the front doors of the suspected drug dens, officers broke into squads, descending on the 10 addresses in a carefully co-ordinated hit.
The team our reporters were assigned to prepared themselves at a street away from their target, equipping themselves with hand, arm and face protection to aid in breaking through any barricades a drug dealer may use to protect the entrance of a property.
Officers then swooped on the Newark Avenue residence, sprinting the length of the driveway and breaking through the front door with a ram.
Shouts of “police, stay where you are” echoed throughout the semi-detached suburban home as officers quickly searched each room, bringing all residents together in the front room.
Outside, shocked neighbours watched in dressing gowns from their porches or front windows, puzzled by the commotion punctuating the morning peace and quiet.
After 10 minutes officers confirmed they had the man they wanted, a 25-year-old who was led out of the property in handcuffs and placed into the back of one of the unmarked cars.
News of arrests at the other locations across the city followed quickly on the officers’ radios, all 10 suspects soon confirmed as being in custody.
The 10 in custody are; a 39-year-old man, a 29-year-old man, a 45-year-old man from Peterborough, a 35-year-old woman, a 34-year-old man, a 25-year-old man, a 59-year-old woman, a 45-year-old man and a 34-year-old man, all from Peterborough along with a 30-year-old man from Whittlesey.
Other raids took place in Bishops Road, Star Road, Padholme Road, Gransley Rose, Lombardy Drive, Newark Avenue, Heyford Close, Havelock Drive in Stanground and Coronation Avenue in Whittlesey. Searches were also carried out at a car garage in Fengate and City Motors in New Road.
The 10 warrants served this morning come after eight previous drug busts in recent months in which seizures of 4.5kg of cocaine and more than 40kg of cutting agents were made.
Officers were instructed to seize mobile phones and sim cards at all addresses, vital to linking the suspects to drug deals.
Luxury goods and evidence of a lifestyle beyond normal means were also to be seized as evidence - officers were told that in one case the suspect and family lived a salubrious lifestyle despite claiming benefits from the state.
Area Commander for Peterborough, Superintendent Mel Dales said: “Drugs are a key concern for communities across in Peterborough and today’s warrants should serve as reassurance as to how seriously we take the use and supply of illegal substances.
“We will continue to work with partners including ERSOU to address local concerns and I would urge people to continue to report suspicious behaviour.”