Monday, 17 December 2018

Four held in police drug raids

FOUR people were arrested and class A drugs were seized in a series of police raids on homes in Henley.

FOUR people were arrested and class A drugs were seized in a series of police raids on homes in Henley.

Fifty officers took part in Operation Mariner, which involved the search of seven properties.

Police said they were targeting the homes of suspected burglars.

The officers, who were accompanied by the Henley Standard on some of the raids, targeted two properties in both Gainsborough Crescent and Mount View and one each in Gainsborough Hill, Goodall Close and Swiss Farm on Thursday last week.

Officers met at Wallingford police station at 6am for a final briefing before driving in a convoy to Henley and regrouping at the rugby club in Marlow Road.

Groups of six or seven officers were then sent to each property.

The Standard witnessed two raids on houses in Mount View at about 7.25am.

Police vans were parked around the corner to prevent the suspects becoming suspicious.

Officers ran to the properties and used metal battering rams to smash open the front doors and side gates at the same time to prevent the occupants trying to escape.

Officers wearing protective jackets, arm shields, leg shields and helmets then forced their way into the houses.

At one house a couple with a young daughter shouted and swore at the officers and their dog barked while the inside and outside were searched. A needle was found in a bin outside.

Officers searching the other house smashed the glass in the front door while gaining entry.

Inside they found a man sleeping on a mattress in the living room as the two bedrooms contained no furniture. Insp Mark Harling, head of Henley police, said intelligence suggested that burglaries in the area were linked to drug use.

There have been 21 burglaries since November 4 across Henley, Shiplake, Sonning Common, Binfield Heath and Goring.

Insp Harling said: “We are trying to make sure that we have got everything covered with regard to prevention and, where burglaries happen, to solve them.

“We suspect that there is drug-related criminality in the addresses we have searched and we have been able to show to magistrates that these addresses should be searched for evidence.

“Our role is to protect people and by finding these prohibited substances we have been able to protect people from continued drug use.”

One woman has been charged with possession of a class A substance and another with possession of a class B drug. A third received a caution for possession of a class B substance.

A man has been bailed pending further enquiries.

Police community support officers visited the areas on Friday to reassure residents and answer questions.

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