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Sudbury police inspector hails community's support with disrupting illegal drug supply around town

Major inroads into cutting down the supply of class A drugs in Sudbury have been made, according to the town’s locality inspector, who credited the community’s intelligence sharing with helping the ongoing force’s efforts.

Sudbury Police revealed it has disrupted two county lines operations in the town, and prevented another from being set up, since the coronavirus lockdown began, after further drug-related arrests were carried out this month.

A proactive policing campaign against drug crime in Sudbury was launched in April, which has to date resulted in dozens of people being arrested and thousands of pounds in illegal substances being seized.

Kevin Horton is the new Suffolk Police locality inspector for Sudbury and Haverhill.....PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (30165652)
Kevin Horton is the new Suffolk Police locality inspector for Sudbury and Haverhill.....PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (30165652)

Kevin Horton, locality inspector for Sudbury, said the operation’s effectiveness had led to more people coming forward with information, enabling police to make more progress towards reducing the supply of drugs.

Despite demand for police resources increasing as the lockdown starts to lift, Insp Horton told the Free Press that staffing measures have been taken to ensure this targeted action does not dip.

He added that police will also work with partner agencies on a long-term strategy for Minden Road and Cavendish Way – two hotspots of drug activity, which have been the focus of the recent crackdown.

“We’ve done an awful lot in the disruption of supply lines and making it very difficult for dealers to supply drugs,” said Insp Horton.

“We have made big inroads, but we have to be realistic that, while the demand for drugs is still there, people will set up to deal.

“What we’ve found is that, because of the action we’ve taken and the success we’ve had, the intelligence we’re getting from the community has increased.

“We’re getting very accurate information and have been able to respond very quickly. Because people have seen the positive action we’re taking, people are giving us more intelligence.

“The initial focus was around Cavendish Way and Minden Road. It has expanded to a few new places in other parts of Sudbury, where some of the dealers have moved into. We’ve followed that up and executed warrants.

“Speaking to individuals out on the street, it has become more difficult to obtain class A drugs than it was a few months ago. The supply has become more difficult.”

Earlier this month, a 30-year-old woman was charged with possession of a class A drug and assault on a police officer in Newton Road, while last week, three men were arrested in connection with drug offences in Walnut Tree Lane and Stour Street.

Insp Horton explained that, while the proactive policing approach against drug crime will continue across the town, there will still be a focus on the Cavendish Way and Minden Road area.

“We do get reports of people continuing to sell drugs there, so the work will continue in that area,” he said. “However, it’s now about looking at where else dealers are going to pop up.

“I think, with that area, there are some individuals there who have perhaps allowed their properties to be used for the supply of drugs. That’s the long-term issue we’re trying to address.

“In terms of a long-term resolution, we’re working with Babergh District Council and the housing association to help improve the area as best we can.”

Elsewhere, as businesses begin to reopen this month with the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, Insp Horton said the people of Sudbury have responded well to the new safety and social distancing requirements.

Increased police patrols took place in early July to support the reopening of pubs, restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality industry, after officers worked with licensed premises prior to their return to ensure sufficient safety measures were in place.

The Government announced on Tuesday that face masks or coverings will be compulsory in shops across the country from July 24, with those flouting the requirement potentially facing a fine of up to £100.

Insp Horton stated Suffolk Police will wait to receive guidance from the College of Policing on implementing this legislation, but indicated they will aim to focus on engaging and educating people.

“I think it will be the same approach as before,” he said. “It’s predominantly been about the engagement and education side of things, rather than enforcement.

“People have been on board with the regulations. We’ve had no difficulties at all in terms of businesses reopening.

“The businesses and staff there are obviously concerned for their own wellbeing and they’re putting in precautions for their own staff, as well as customers. No matter what role they’re doing, people are concerned about coming into contact with others.”

Insp Horton added that the number of calls to police has increased since the lockdown started to lift, stating the main demand on their resources has been dealing with domestic issues, including assaults, property damage, stalking and harassment.

He also confirmed that officers are looking into complaints about anti-social behaviour by car enthusiasts in Sudbury, including motorists allegedly driving with illegal modifications to their vehicles.

Meanwhile, the town has also recruited a new community engagement officer, Pc Darren Marshall, who takes over from Pc Jon Gerrish.

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