Drugs and weapons seized as cops crack down on Bestwood crime gangs
Almost £1.8m of drugs have been seized and 203 people arrested as part of an 11-month crackdown on organised crime in the Bestwood estate area.
Operation Reacher was set up in April last year to tackle drug-related crime, and has seen officers confiscate £300,000 in cash, 23 weapons, including eight firearms, and 337 vehicles.
Heroin, cocaine, MDMA and cannabis were uncovered in dawn raids, which ended on Tuesday, following tip offs from local people on Facebook.
Detective chief superintendent Gerard Milano, head of crime for Nottinghamshire police, described the results as “staggering for such a small area.”
“It’s not surprising that weapons are around when hard drugs are involved.
“We have lots of very dedicated officers hungry for this kind of work so I know that we will continue to make a difference,” said the officer, who was born and bred in Bestwood Park.
“The people at the top of these networks seek to make profits from causing misery to hundreds of vulnerable people who live in our neighbourhoods.
“They enforce their networks often using extreme violence and fear and feed addicitons that spread misery, crime and anti-social behaviour like a virus.”
A total of 104 people have so far been dealt with, either by being charged, reported for summons, cautioned, given penalty notices, cannabis warnings, or community resolutions.
The bulk of the recent enforcement activity has resulted in charges for conspiracy to supply class A and B drugs, as well as possession of firearms.
Many of the prosecutions are currently going through the courts.
Jordan Needham, 26, formerly of Comfrey Close, Bestwood, was sentenced to five years and eight months in October after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply crack cocaine, cocaine and heroin.
The courts confiscated £27,847 from him on March 11.
Det Ch Super Milano said there were more than 80 “top-end” conspiracy to supply Class A drugs charges that “will carry lots and lots of years at sentencing.”
“People are reluctant to come forward because they fear the impact on them and their families,” he said.
But the team used Facebook to gather followers and forge links with the community, which led to intelligence officers could use to execute warrants and make arrests.
“Once people see results they’re happy to talk to us. At the moment, one challenge is dealing with all the information.”
He said the force had been structured in such a way that “we have got a really good offer in terms of serious and organised crime-fighting.”
Detective sergeant Marcus Oldroyd, of the Operation Reacher team, said: “People who were viewed as untouchable have been nicked or had their door put in.
“We know we are not going to solve the crime problems overnight - but if we keep going in the right direction, doing what we have been doing, this will get better.
“It’s a really proactive brand of policing. It’s actually about being a force for good on the estate, rather then leaving it.
“Throughout, we have been able to engage and interact with the public,” he said.
“People want to see police on the street. We have been asking people what the problems and issues are. It isn’t just about busting doors down and taking drugs - it’s about positive engagement.”
He said community-based activities, such as treasure trails, puzzles and a Christmas card competition enabled the force to reach out to youngsters, and hopefully make a positive impact on them.