Police work over three months to identify suspected drug dealers in Hastings and St Leonards is reaching its conclusion.
Officers from Sussex Police and the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU), working in a variety of roles, have gathered evidence of drugs reaching the resort from London and the Home Counties.
A total of 28 people suspected of drug-related crimes are now under arrest, with extra officers drafted in from other parts of the county to help detain them, and prosecutions are expected to follow.
Detective Inspector Mark O’Brien said: “Twenty-four were arrested on Monday and four on Tuesday, with eight of these from Bexhill.
“A number of those arrested were from outside Sussex.
“We’re confident that as a result of the operation we’ve blown a significant hole in drug lines between London and the East Sussex coast and we intend to retain that initiative.”
Det Insp O’Brien added that as a spin-off, officers had also arrested a man wanted on recall to prison and had found a 14-year-old boy reported missing from Lewisham.
Chief Inspector Paul Phelps, Hastings district commander, said: “We have responded emphatically to concerns that local resorts, and particularly St Leonards, had a growing drugs problem.
“We’ve been very much alive to the situation and have tackled it with an intelligence-led operation that has sought to secure the best possible evidence against those responsible.
“Working with other forces and partner agencies we have amassed information that is now allowing us to take robust action against suspects and hopefully cause significant disruption to supplies.”
Chief Inspector Phelps added: “Due the sensitive nature of our enquiries it has not been possible until now to disclose what has been done to combat this very real threat to our community.
“But councillors, community groups and residents should be in no doubt that Sussex Police is committed to taking decisive action against criminals and to see them brought to justice.”
Anyone with information about drug-related crimes in Hastings and Bexhill-on-Sea should email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 101, quoting Operation Phoenix.
Alternatively they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers without having to leave their name on 0800 555 111.
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