Police have purged a neighbourhood of 70 drug dealers in a major crackdown resulting in them being jailed for a total of 181 years, The Sun reports. The operation started after a worried resident wrote complaining about the low-life heroin and cocaine dealers causing havoc near their home.
Officers began an eight-month surveillance operation in the Easton and St Paul’s areas of Bristol and gathered intelligence on 70 dealers — one aged just 15 — plaguing the streets. Dawn raids on dozens of homes last October saw nearly 100 officers seize around £10,000 of drugs and £24,000 of cash and the dealers were hauled into court.
The 69 men and women – aged from 15 to 55 – were all jailed for between four months and seven years with sentences totalling 181 years. Jailing the last of the offenders yesterday (Fri) Judge Martin Picton described the case as ‘an epidemic of offending’. He said: “What is unusual is the scale and openness of the trade.
“Those who chose to sell and take drugs considered they could do so with impunity. “Community groups complained to the police about what they rightly saw as a cancer in their community.” The operation was the biggest of its kind carried out by Avon and Somerset police.
Many of the dealers were feeding their own habits and known to each other. The bulk were sentenced during five days of back-to-back hearings at Bristol Crown Court this week. James Ward of the CPS said: “This very large-scale, complex operation has resulted in the successful prosecution of a large number involved in the supply of Class A drugs on the streets of Bristol.
“The supply of drugs brings misery not only to those struggling with addiction but also to the wider community, with addicts often turning to crime to fund their habit. “We also know that residents and business operators around St Pauls and Easton feel intimidated, as they deal with the effects of drug dealers operating within their community.
“In the midst of this, those involved in the supply of these substances are making financial profit from the misery of others.”