Video: Huge police operation targets drug dealers in pubs and clubs
ONE of the biggest-ever police swoops on pubs and clubs in North East Lincolnshire rooted out drug dealing and led to arrests and seizures of illegal substances.
More than 30 officers took part in Operation Ferret, which aimed to dig out drugs and target dealers selling M-Cat and other drugs to revellers in both Grimsby and Cleethorpes over the weekend. Senior officers at Humberside Police said they aimed to demonstrate zero-tolerance towards drugs in nightspots and disrupt dealers' trade, as well as to target under-age drinkers and check the identities and licences of door supervisors.
During the operation, which took place on Saturday night and the early hours of Sunday, one man was arrested in Grimsby town centre for possession of drugs following a swoop on three bars, including The Bank on Station Approach, Eden and The Matrix, on Bethlehem Street.
There were also a number of arrests for drunk disorderly behaviour in Cleethorpes when police visited four venues – Bootlegger on High Street, Hype in Market Place, Swashbuckle in Grant Street, and BarRacuda on High Street.
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A number of other people received fines and warnings for their unruly behaviour.
Leading the operation Inspector Scott Snowden said: "The reduction in violence in Grimsby and Cleethorpes venues at night has been significant. That is because of the effective work of the licensing officer and Pubwatch. We want to capitalise on that and want people to know that Cleethorpes and Grimsby are great for nights out."
He added: "The operation is about providing reassurance and a visibility to the public that we will act. This is mostly about drug-related crime to make Grimsby and Cleethorpes safer places to visit."
Humberside police licensing officer Ken Stone added: "We are specifically targeting drug-related offences because the operators of the venues are increasingly concerned about the drugs being sold in and around their venues.
"We are not there to get the venue operators. They are on side with us. We are there to get the drug users and dealers.
"I am pleased the licensees are working with us. The drugs found on the operation were negligible, but it has demonstrated to drug dealers that we are out there and that has stopped them this weekend and they know that we will be there at anytime."
Sniffer dog Eddie and his handler PC Bob Kilby were deployed on Operation Ferret to identify people in possession of drugs. Eddie, a passive sniffer dog, was nearly kicked by one reveller in Station Approach but the man later fled the scene.
The raids came just a few months after the Grimsby Telegraph ran a series of articles on the impact of M-Cat among young people.
Campaigners want Mephedrone, or M-Cat, escalated to a Class A drug, and to attract tougher penalties for possession and supply.
There were also a number of high-profile court cases reported in the Grimsby Telegraph involving people who took the drug and attacked taxi drivers.
Mr Stone said people taking M-Cat frequently emit a fishy odour and are recognisable because of the tense facial features caused by the instant effect of the drug which, he said, is similar to taking Class A substances such as cocaine or heroin and makes users violent.
He added: "Let's have zero-tolerance towards M-Cat and let's get them out of the area."
Special sergeant Paul Silver was one of 24 special officers taking part in the operation.
He said the deployment of a large number of specials, in conjunction with police officers, had minimised the likelihood of any reaction from revellers against the operation.
He said: "Because we had such a large force, it has meant there was little opposition."
Inspector Snowden added: "Without the specials, this operation could not happen.
"It is a testament to their character that they give up their Friday and Saturday nights for the community."