Raids across Yarmouth in fight against drugs

POLICE efforts to catch drug pushers and address a spike in burglaries saw 30 officers swoop on three properties across Great Yarmouth.

At 10.30am on Tuesday, specialist officers from across the borough battered down the door of a house of multiple occupation (HMO), formerly the Faymar Hotel, on Paget Road near the town’s seafront. Teams then descended on a home in Havelock Road and also at a premises on Apsley Road.

The raids come as part of Operation Choir, which has run for the last two months and targets drug dealers in the area, many of whom are committing thefts and burglaries to fund their own habits.

After the operation, in which police sniffer dogs were used, Chief Inspector Stuart Ames put out a warning to dealers looking to set up in the area.

He said: “If you’re going to come here then expect a hostile environment. We’ve had big success so far but this is also a starting point for us.”

“We will continue to target known criminal activity and execute warrants where appropriate. We will also liaise and involve other agencies.”

These words come after concerns over a spike in burglaries and thefts in the autumn, with the theft of TVs being a specific concern.

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Since mid-October, police have carried out 15 warrants and made 40 arrests in the area relating to drug use.

Two arrests were made at Paget Road, one for drugs and another in respect of an outstanding warrant, while at the Apsley Road premises though no drugs were found one person was arrested for obstruction.

Insp Ames said that overall the operation had been very successful in reducing crime levels and the raid was also about sending a message.

“The thing to take away when you set up an operation like this is that the action being taken is worth its weight in gold in terms of making people feel safer in their homes.”

Police acted after complaints from neighbours of the former Faymar Hotel of anti-social behaviour.

A large number of officers were needed because of the size of the building, which contains 34 flats, of which two were specific targets.

“We link active drug use to criminal activity, they’re all linked, and the property on Paget Road has been known to us for a number of years – just a week ago we arrested someone here in possession of stolen goods,” Insp Ames added.

Also present at the scene of the raids were borough council environmental health officers and fire safety staff.

Environmental health officer Jeremy Marsh was at the Faymar and said: “This gives us a good opportunity to look out for any issues ourselves, in terms of amenities and how people are living, and we also have other powers we can use to gain access to properties.”