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Crackdown on drug activity in Sudbury leads to seizure of £3,000 of drugs and cash after dozens stop-searched

Targeted action against drug activity in Sudbury has led to the seizure of thousands of pounds in illegal substances and cash, as police seek to crack down on drug dealing during the coronavirus lockdown.

A total of 29 people were stop-searched and two warrants were executed at local addresses over a three-week period, from late April up to Thursday, May 14, as part of Operation Benin, which saw 90 hours of patrols in the first week alone.

The multi-agency campaign has focused on drug-related crime in the Minden Road and Cavendish Way area, in response to concerns about criminal activity raised by residents and Sudbury Town Council.

Drug Deal. (35017109)
Drug Deal. (35017109)

As a result, 13 individuals have been arrested or cautioned for drug offences and possession of offensive weapons, after officers confiscated around £3,000 of drugs and cash, as well as three weapons.

Connor Mitchell, 24, of Barker Road, Sudbury, was subsequently charged with possession with intent to supply class B drugs and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was later bailed, and must appear before Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, June 9.

Meanwhile, a 53-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, while an 18-year-old man, of Harpurs Road, Glemsford, was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class B drugs.

Both were questioned at Bury St Edmunds Police Investigation Centre and released under investigation, pending further inquiries.

Insp Kevin Horton, locality inspector for Sudbury and Haverhill, said tackling drug dealing is the main priority for policing in the town while the lockdown is ongoing, having been the most frequent issue raised by members of the community.

“There has been some really great, positive work taking place over the last three weeks,” he told the Free Press. “We want to reassure people that we are taking action.

“Generally, with the lockdown, most people have stayed at home, and the vast majority have responded well to it, but there is still that small minority who are engaging in criminal activity.

“Because of the lockdown, the actual demand for police has fallen, because a lot of crimes, such as shoplifting, have dropped.

“What that means is there are more officers available and we have that extra capacity to be more proactive.”

The action against drug-related crime in Sudbury has also resulted in two local properties being served with Section 8 warning notices, under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, for being used for the production, supply and use of controlled drugs.

Suffolk Police confirmed that since launching, Operation Benin has received 106 pieces of intelligence, in relation to drug offences and associated criminality.

Officers have also visited residents of Cavendish Way and Minden Road to discuss their concerns, including arson attacks that have occurred in the area and how to prevent future incidents.

Insp Horton emphasised that the operation is a multi-agency approach, working with Babergh District Council, Sudbury Town Council, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and other police departments, alongside assistance from the local community.

“This is a key priority for the locality and is the main issue currently being raised by members of the community,” he said.

“The aim of this operation is to pursue, disrupt and arrest those people causing criminality and anti-social behaviour in the area, which has included drug dealing, criminal damage and arson offences.

“We will also be working with health, and other services, to signpost those using illegal substances to the correct diversion teams to allow them to get the support they require.”

Anybody aware of suspicious activity taking place in their community should contact police on 101, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.