A POLICE force’s war on drugs has seen these nine dealers jailed during the last year for selling the most deadly of substances.
They are among 13 who have been given prison sentences totalling more than 40 years after being snared by Hartlepool Police’s Dedicated Drugs Unit for dealing the most dangerous category of powders, pills and liquids.
The Class A drugs that they had spread around the town’s streets include heroin and cocaine, which are said to not only cause crime in the town but destroy people’s lives and break up communities.
Officers also recovered £240,000 worth of illegal substances in the last 12 months, with £140,000 being Class A.
The real haul is even larger as the totals only include seizures made in busts and do not account for drugs confiscated from users.
Detectives are now vowing to crackdown further on those involved in the lucrative trade and are making money with little regard to the untold damage they cause.
Detective Sergeant Daryll Tomlinson, who leads the drugs team, said: “Class A is the force’s and the district’s priority because of the effect it has on communities. Heroin users congregate and make the public feel unsafe, while it is also a cause of crimes such as shoplifting.
“We are also now putting more of a focus on cocaine dealers who are gaining financially from dealing. We are looking at getting people for money laundering and under the Proceeds of Crime Act to seize their assets and hit them where it hurts.
“Cocaine is often seen as a socially acceptable drug but it has long-term effects, can be turned into the highly-addictive crack cocaine and funds criminal gangs.”
Det Sgt Tomlinson said the 13 convictions came from the unit arresting 80 people suspected of being Class A drug dealers in the town during the last 12 months.
He added: “This is a covert unit that does a lot of work that people do not hear about due to the nature of what we do but people should know that we are out there and making a difference.”
The Mail had been invited to the unit’s base in the town’s Avenue Road police station to be given an insight into the murky, underground world of the town’s drug culture.
The office gave a clear statement that no-one is resting on their laurels after the success they have had as a wall full of mugshots of those jailed by officers sits next to photos of those they want to catch next.
Det Sgt Tomlinson was quick to point out that Hartlepool is not a drugs den with the problems of larger towns and cities, and the unit is determined to keep things that way.
He added: “The last 12 months have been very busy and we have made good progress which we are determined to build on in the future.
“We are working closely with our neighbourhood policing teams and community officers to build up intelligence on what is going on in Hartlepool.
“This approach involves residents also passing on any concerns they have and we will act on all information provided to us.
“We are taking a tough stance on crime of all kinds, including drugs, and will have no hesitation of putting doors through and getting positive messages out into the community.”