A team of officers ran ‘Operation Oven’ over 31 days with the focus also being on protecting vulnerable people who are being subjected to violence and their addresses being taken over by London-based drug gangs.
As well as the arrests, they have carried out seven warrants at properties, stop and searched 65 people and seized £5,000 cash and two imitation firearms.
Detective Inspector Rob Walker said: “The main aim was to protect vulnerable adults who are being used by the drug dealers, reduce the number of properties being used by the dealers and to make it a hostile environment for the drug suppliers who see Worthing as a safe haven to sell crack and heroin.”
Officers have been working with partners including local housing agencies to identify vulnerable adults and share information on problem addresses. They have also spoken to residents and businesses which have suffered from the anti-social behaviour stemming from drug use and dealing.
The team also encountered instances of child exploitation ranging from children physically hiding drugs to being sexually abused.
DI Walker said: “The results indicate that organised crime groups and gangs are involved in the supply of crack cocaine and heroin in Worthing and in the exploitation of vulnerable adults and children. This has to be targeted through multi-agency working with police, charities and support agencies working together.”
Anyone who has any concerns or information about drug dealing in their neighbourhood should contact police by emailing [email protected] or ring 101 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
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