Drugs police raid Portsmouth homes

Police officers effect entry to a flat in Leamington House, Southsea
Police officers effect entry to a flat in Leamington House, Southsea

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POLICE today raided three Portsmouth homes in the hunt for suspected drug dealers during a city-wide crackdown.

More than 50 officers were involved in Operation Arctic as properties in Leopold Street and St Ronans Road, Southsea and a flat at Leamington House, Earlsdon Street, Southsea, were targeted.

Inspector Annabel Berry who is leading the operation, said: ‘This is us putting our foot down.’

Hampshire police’s Force Support Unit, two drugs, weapons and cash search dogs, Portsmouth City Council housing and anti-social behaviour officers and medics were involved in the raids.

Police used specialist equipment including an ‘enforcer’ to break down doors and gain entry to the three properties.

Two Ion Tracks - Home Office approved equipment for detecting minute traces of illegal drugs - were also used.

The addresses have now been searched.

So far two arrests have been made - at the Leopold Street property.

A 26-year-old man is being quizzed on suspicion of possessing class A drugs. Mobile phones and the suspect white powder have been seized from the house.

A woman who is thought to be the first suspect’s girlfriend and arrived at the terraced property while the raid was ongoing has also been arrested. She is being quizzed on suspicion of a public order offence.

More arrests are expected as today’s operation continues.

However there have been no arrests at the St Ronans Road property and police say no evidence of drug dealing has been found there.

Speaking shortly before the warrants were executed, Insp Berry said the force is working with other city agencies to ensure Portsmouth is a safe place to live and work in.

Chief Inspector Steve Burridge said: ‘The police’s priority is to protect the people we serve from those who cause them harm. We want Portsmouth to become an even safer place following a 15 per cent reduction in all crime in the city since April when compared to the same seven months last year.

‘The demand for and supply of illegal drugs is a threat to the safety and welfare of residents and visitors.

‘The importance of this issue is recognised by the agencies we work alongside within the Safer Portsmouth Partnership.

‘This type of police activity is a tried and tested tactic to disrupt and detect drug supplies.

‘We welcome co-operation from members of the public whose information is vital to ensure our action focuses on the problems that cause the greatest concern to communities.’

Call police on 101 or report crime anonymously to the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555111.