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Six questioned after East Lancashire drugs raids
12:50pm Thursday 30th January 2014 in News
RAIDS were carried out on 10 homes and businesses as part of a major investigation into cocaine and amphetamine dealing in East Lancashire.
Detectives swooped on a farm conversion, luxury flats, a town centre bar and warehouse in East Lancashire as six men were quizzed, also in connection with money laundering claims.
Police moved in swiftly after reports of a £100,000-plus drugs deal being conducted between two suspects who had been under surveillance.
Suspects from Barrowford, Blackburn, Cheadle and Sale, aged from 42 to 49, were being quizzed by officers from Lancashire Police’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit last night.
Another two suspects, aged 36 and 39, have also been questioned regarding similar allegations. Det Insp Martin Kane confirmed that the investigation, codenamed Operation Victor, was targeting ‘high-end drug suppliers’ instead of street-level dealers.
Several items were removed yesterday from one of the properties, the Coach House, in Colne Road, Barrowford, including a flatscreen television and table.
One neighbour said the police operation was a ‘surprise’ and added: “The police came last night and told us someone had been arrested.”
Neighbours said that police had raided premises belonging to Castle Contract Packers, in Castle Clough, Hapton, and officers also attended Bar Mojito, in Ormerod Street, and premises in nearby Sandygate, as part of the inquiry.
Police said they had also searched premises in Brandy House Brow, Blackburn and other businesses in Sale and Wythenshawe.
A raid was also conducted at Clough Springs, a luxury flats complex built on the site of the former vinegar factory in Wheatley Lane Road, and homes in Sale and Cheadle, police said.
DI Kane said: “These raids are part of our ongoing commitment to tackling drugs. The activities of drug dealers can have such a negative effect on our communities.
“They can ruin lives, fuel other crime, and can instil fear in our neighbourhoods and we are determined to tackle that.”
Neighbours of Castle Contract Packers said eight police cars descended on the premises, off Castle Street, Hapton, on Tuesday.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “It was chaotic - the police just swooped down. They were in plain clothes and, as soon as they came, they went straight into the storage place. They were there until after 6pm.
“During the day, a blue van turned up and the officers were in uniform, and then later another van turned up with dogs.
“The lane was closed off. We all had to give our names and where we lived. Nothing like this has happened in 20 years.”
Dennis Berry, who jointly owns Mojitos, said that police had attended the bar on Tuesday but had only checked money in the till.